So I’m going to talk to you guys about luck.
In this profession, as published authors, as women, we’re encouraged to smile modestly and duck our heads and say “Well, I got very lucky." I admit, I have done this many times when someone praised my work. I’m uncomfortable with praise like that, and my entire first year as an author was spent learning to just say "thank you.” But every time the words “I don’t know, just lucky, I guess” escaped my lips, I felt a little bit worse about myself, about my achievements. Citing luck made me begin to think it really was luck, and had nothing to do with the fact that I decided to be an author at four years old and have been working toward it ever since.
Because that’s the most insidious part of this particular societal expectation: we actually train ourselves to believe that we just got lucky.
As authors, but particularly as female authors, we’re expected to diminish our accomplishments and attribute our success to fate or luck. Just the right manuscript hitting the market at the right time, through an absolutely random series of events. It’s considered bragging or self-aggrandizement to admit to having worked your ass off for years to get where you are.
Society prefers to view women as passive and receptive, not as ambitious people in their own right who have goals and set out to reach them. Girls should be modest and self-effacing. Masters of self-abnegation. Minimizing our accomplishments makes us seem more feminine, more demure. Sweeter. Prettier. Gentler.
Ambition is a masculine trait. Achievement is aggressive. Success, on a woman, isn’t sexy.
This is bullshit.
Why is it arrogant to say that you overcame obstacles? Why is it bragging to admit that the reason you’re published and someone else isn’t is because you didn’t give up? Why does it make us less woman to tell the truth about how we got to where we are? Why do we cheapen ourselves for the sake of appearances?
Because saying “I was lucky” cheapens the work you’ve done, and it cheapens the work of other authors. You can’t claim your success was due to luck without implying theirs was, too. Citing luck cheapens the drive in your heart, that voice that continually tells you to do better, to be better. It cheapens the part of your soul that pushes you on to greater things.
Most of all, it cheapens the aspirations of those to follow you. Tell an aspiring writer that you got lucky, and they’re going to spend their days hoping that a blue fairy will come down out of the sky one night and whisk them away to fame and fortune. They’ll be waiting forever.
Tell them you worked hard. Tell them it was awful, a lot of the time, and that most days you felt like you’d never get there. But tell them that you kept slogging through because you knew this was what you wanted. Tell them that you were ambitious, and that you still are, and that this drive is what makes you better. Tell them you fought for what you have.
Don’t just smile coyly and say, “Lucky, I guess.” Let young girls see us taking credit for our hard work. Let them realize that it’s not only okay to work hard, it’s okay to talk about it. Let them see us being ambitious and pushing ourselves to be better all the time. Let them grow up watching women who aren’t afraid to say “Yes, I did that. That was me.”
As some of you may know, THESE BROKEN STARS has had an amazing home in the US with Disney Hyperion for quite a while now. But as others of you may know, our writing team is only half American, so Amie and I have been waiting oh-so-impatiently to be able to announce our exciting news–which is that THESE BROKEN STARS is also going to be coming out in Australia!! (Read more…)
If you haven’t yet, be sure to go check out the official SHADOWLARK cover reveal on YA Books Central for a chance to win an ARC of SHADOWLARK!
As some of you already know, at the end of this month there will take place a wondrous, super rare phenomenon… Amie Kaufman and I are going to be in the same country at the same time! WOOOO!
Yes, we’re headed to Book Expo America in NYC at the end of this month. We’re both tremendously excited–it’ll be our first time ever signing our book together, and I’ll also get to sign copies of SKYLARK’s sequel, SHADOWLARK. (Which is in Publisher’s Weekly as one of BEA’s “Galleys to Grab!”) We’re also really looking forward to connecting with people we haven’t seen in a while, as well as meeting those we’ve never met in person. Our official schedule is below, or you can check it out on the events page. We hope you’ll come by and see us! (Read more…)
Well, as you may have noticed, there’s no Write Space post this week. Why, you ask? Because I have something totally awesome for you instead….
THE COVER FOR SHADOWLARK IS LIVE!
Amie Kaufman and I are running a MASSIVE giveaway with swag and ARCs from over twenty YA authors in order to kick off our brand new joint newsletter. Be sure to go check it out!
Katelyn L. asked, “What was the process behind naming SKYLARK?”
The original title of SKYLARK was THE IRON WOOD. That was the title I’d called it from the very beginning. I don’t outline, but I do usually have a pretty good idea of where a story is headed, and I knew where Lark was going when she escaped. So that was the title of the manuscript when I queried and signed with my agent, and that was also the title under which the book sold.
Did you come here looking for In Search of the Write Space? Well, too bad. You’re getting something different today. There are still book to be won, though. Oh, are there ever books to be one.
Guys, it’s finally here. It’s FINALLY HERE! The cover for THESE BROKEN STARS is live today–RIGHT NOW! I could show it here in all its glory, but where would the fun be in that? Instead, Amie and I have gathered six awesome bloggers to share in the reveal. Visit each blog to see the gorgeous cover, and enter on each to win one of SIX advanced reader copies, the very first to roll off the presses! Plus, check out the unique content on each blog for more about our upcoming book. (Read more…)
Well, sorry for the radio silence from this corner of the internet! As some of you may know from my twitter feed, I’ve been traveling around with co-author extraordinaire Amie. (She just got her plane back to her side of the globe yesterday. I’m pretty inconsolable.)
We caught up with our agents at Adams Literary in Charlotte, then headed to Asheville where we met up with the local author ladies there for dinner and chocolate and discussions of serial killers (thanks for the nightmares, Steph). I managed to get my hands on ARCs of THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT and THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, and devoured them both. Seriously, they are amazing, folks. Normally I don’t feel the urge to brag about things when I read them before they hit the shelves, but I will be shouting about these two books for a good long time. (Read more…)
You guys may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Well, there’s a lot of reasons for that. The biggest one is that this happened last week:
SKYLARK is in stores now! (Read more…)
Hi guys! I’ve been a little quiet lately–but only because I’ve been busy! Ever since I found out that Skylark was going to be available August 1, two months before its official pub date of October 1, I’ve been arranging guest posts and interviews all over the place. And guys, book bloggers? They are totally awesome. I’m pretty much head over heels for how fun everyone has been to work with so far!
So, without further ado, let me announce:
First of all, before you do anything else, click over to Crits for Water and check out today’s auction! Amie and I are giving away a critique, PLUS Adams Literary will look at your query, PLUS (seriously, this package is crazy) Disney-Hyperion editor Laura Schrieber will read your first chapter AND call you on the phone to discuss it with you! Have you gone to check it out? Yes? Okay, then carry on below.
Well, I think I’m finally recovered (mostly!) from BEA. It was my first Book Expo, and man, what a way to start! My editor, Andrew Karre, spoke on the YA Editors Buzz Panel about SKYLARK, and then I got to sit with the other amazing buzz authors and discuss our books on our own panel. I also got to meet a wonderful bunch of bloggers at the blogger breakfast with me, Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.
And then—one of the craziest experiences yet—I got to do this:
Look at that line! Total madness. I got to meet so many awesome people while I signed, I wish I could’ve had more time to talk more! One guy told me that he wasn’t even going to come to BEA that day—but he came JUST to get his hands on a copy of SKYLARK and get it signed. Dude, whoever you are, you made my day. And given what an incredible day it was, that’s saying something.