Full-time Writing

I have an enviable schedule: a ten-month, full-time job, and then my two months of summer vacation. During the school-year, I write in the mornings, typically for two hours. During the summer, well, it’s a whole other story.

M-F:

6-11 am: write, write, edit, write. Feel the brain drain. Leave the office.

The rest of the morning and afternoon are spent with my family, swimming, reading, finding something fun to entertain the kids with.

I may or may not workout.

I may or may not take a nap.

In the evenings I read from the voluminous list I have (right now it’s Winger) or watch whatever show I’m addicted to (Right now it’s the first half of Season 5 of Breaking Bad).

I go to bed between 10 and 11 pm.

Repeat.

Weekends:

I’m typically too busy for writing, but will squeeze it in as needed.

Vacation:

Last year at this time I was preparing for the American Library Association annual conference, followed by a family vacation to Fort MyersFlorida and Disney. It was one of the best trips I have ever taken.

This summer, I will not be at ALA, and we are not going to Florida. We have a couple of trips planned, but nothing as extensive as last year. That equates to more time writing, which, for me, is phenomenal.

The other side of the job:

I am also using my time this summer preparing to launch Dare Me. Therefore, a fair amount of that afternoon and weekend time will be spent coordinating events, interviews, reviews and of course, on social media.

First up, the trailer will be launched 7/28, so stick around for details.

Pre-ordering is available, so spread the word.

The first signing is scheduled for 9/21 at Market Block Books (If you attend this event, you’ll have Dare Me a full two weeks before it’s available–unless you’ve pre-ordered).

The next is on 10/1 at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, so you’ll still be an early bird, with Dare Me in your hands a full week ahead of the rest.

The launch party will follow soon after, and I’m ironing out the details on that, so definitely stay posted.

Today

Is my last day of the school year, so I’ll be quite pumped this afternoon. But it’s not excitement for total abandon and freedom. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work hard, to create stories that entertain and educate.

It’s my job, and for two months, it’s full time.

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For the Graduates: Embrace the Chaos

I am not wise enough to be invited to speak to graduates of any kind. Not preschoolers nor kindergartners, nor eighth-graders, and certainly not the grades beyond. That doesn’t mean I’m going to withhold such advice. I work with and write about teens on a daily basis. Therefore, I guess these words are best suited for them, but really, if you think your newly minted first grader could use to hear this piece, please sit him or her down and read:

 

I am a fan of quotes. On the wall of my classroom I have the famous, “To thine ownself be true.” I also have the lovely, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Both speak to identity and accepting one’s. But I’m not going to write about that. Because identity is forever shifting, and while I agree with embracing who you are, I think that a broader acceptance is necessary.

“Embrace the Chaos.”

That is my advice.

Here is why:

  1.  Fighting is futile. The world will always be in an upheaval. If you cannot accept that “the only constant is change”, things might get difficult.
  2. Acceptance does not mean defeat. Just because you do not fight does not mean you cannot win. In fact, you have a greater chance of succeeding when you accept, “It is what it is.”
  3. Everything is broken. So fix it. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
  4. Everything is blossoming. Because on the flip side of the wreckage, something new is always born. Tend to the blossoms, because there is “the desperate assumption that somebody… or at least some force – is tending the light at the end of the tunnel.” Be that assumption.
  5. Fail. And not just fail a little bit, but fail hard. You learn nothing more rapidly about yourself than by how you react to failure. It boils down to one premise: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

And yes, some of this wisdom might seem contradictory. But that is life. This is the chaos I speak of. I can guarantee that you are more likely to see contradictions than you will certainty. Because nothing is certain, and that is why the sooner you get on with embracing the hectic swirl, the better off you’ll be.

Do not get lost in it. Rather, find yourself. Then accept the myriad ways that your “self” will be tested, and may change.

Embrace the Chaos.

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”

Nerd Blast: DARE ME by Eric Devine

*FOR ANY BLOGGERS WHO WANT TO BLAST AN AMAZING TRAILER*

I’m releasing the trailer for Dare Me on July 28th via Book Nerd Tours. Sign up today.

Welcome to the  DARE ME by Eric Devine Nerd Blast

A Nerd Blast is Book Nerd Tours Book Blast, and just a promotional post. No reviews required. We supply you with the content for the post + an awesome giveaway you host and we fulfill! Takes you 5 minutes to support a great author on your blog, and you get traffic! YAY for everyone!

via Nerd Blast: DARE ME by Eric Devine.

Permission

 

I was recently asked who told me I could be a writer. It wasn’t a sarcastic question, just someone who was curious about whether, if at some point, a teacher, professor, author, etc. had pulled me aside and said, “You can do this.”

No. And there’s good reason for that. I was not the child who knew he wanted to write. I liked reading, I liked scary movies, I liked telling stories. But writing? No, that’s not something I ever considered. Until I did.

So I guess that’s why I have a problem with the premise that an “anointed one” bestowed upon me the conviction to go down this road.

It didn’t work like that at all.

I wrote because I felt compelled, because somewhere along the way–I think college–I decided that I could write stories. All points suggested I was crazy. Even a professor, who after I made an offhand comment to about writing said, “Oh, you’ll have time for that later.”

Clearly I ignored her.

I do know where she was coming from, though. I understand limitations. I was objective enough to realize I have skills with language, having a masters in English education. I did not think: Surgeon, or Engineer, or Actor. But at the same time, I believe we need to allow ourselves the freedom to decide what we’d like out of our own lives.

I never asked anyone for permission to become a parent. And parenting is a far more daunting task than writing a novel.

Therefore, if you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way. If it’s through more education, or a career change, or an entre paradigm shift in your life, you will find the road. And once you do, I guarantee that people will laugh at you.

And you will second guess yourself.

That’s why I didn’t talk to anyone about writing. I didn’t want to hear the comments. I’m stubborn enough that I just plowed ahead, rejection after rejection, but also sensitive enough to know that those “outsider” comments were all the criticism I could handle.

This isn’t to say it was easy, that is didn’t hurt, that I didn’t want to quit a thousand times over. But I never did. Because I envisioned what my life would be like if I suddenly didn’t write. If I suddenly had this void. That did the trick.

Had I been reliant on someone else’s approval, though, had I forged this path because of his or her advice, I can see how that conversation would have been different: Maybe this person was wrong. It’s not my fault. I’m too _____________ to make this happen (fill in the blank as needed).

I see this defeatist proposition with my students as they’re preparing to graduate and head off to college. They don’t know what they want. They don’t know who they are. And as much as they claim independence, they’d love nothing more than someone to take them by the hand and say, “Here, this way.”

And that frightens me. Because it’s not only them.

I want people to behave as ignorantly as I have. I want them to choose themselves and go forth. I don’t want them to wait to be chosen. This may sound irrational, but so what? Life is irrational.

Be brave. Be unafraid to fail. Listen to yourself.

I give you permission.

Happy Birthday to Me

cookie monster

So, it’s my birthday. I’m 35 today, which seems a bit insane to me. Not nearly as insane as the Cookie Monster looks, but still.

I’m not exactly old, but not exactly young, either. I feel that. But I’m certain I’ll feel this way for at least five more years. Because then, 40, and what, midlife crisis?

Probably not. I’m not in a position where anything has grown stagnant for me and where I’m searching for that greener grass of the other pasture. No, my life is constantly in full flux. I am always excited for the next opportunity, the next story to tell, which is the same as it’s always been.

I did consider tallying up my accomplishments and regrets, but that felt a bit dark. So I just thought about my wins versus losses, and I think I’m doing just fine. No matter how I define “success”, what is important is that I recognize them all.

I have a new book coming out. That’s awesome.

Dare me arrival

But I also woke up to this breakfast at 4:30 this morning.

 Breakfast love

Yeah, my wife loves me.

And yesterday, before the rain washed it away, I was greeted at my parents’ by this “driveway birthday card”, made by my daughters and nieces. Another win.

Happy B-Day-1

My life is full, but there’s always room for whatever’s around the next turn. So here’s to those turns, and to 35, and to whatever lies ahead.