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Joy today: Two weeks of heads-down writing

Here’s to two solid weeks of heads down writing to finish my second novel by 8/31. This weekend I completely revamped the plot line. Tough work and worth it. Don’t be afraid to do this. If what you’ve written isn’t working, toss it onto the slush pile and try again. Don’t let the good keep you from the great.

Joy today: I’ll finish writing my second novel this month

“I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” ~ Anaïs Nin

August is by all accounts a slow month. People go on vacation, business slows down, and we all take a collective breath before Fall. I believe in the power of radical focus so I’ll be in a very hefty period of heads down writing for the rest of the month. I know this time is an invaluable gift and I feel so fortunate. I have to put this time to the best possible use. My goal is to finish my second novel by August 31st. A story calls and I must write it.

Joy today: On the passing of Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison taught me that prose can be poetry, that struggle can lead to freedom, that you get what you give in writing and life.

She gave me 2 priceless lessons: we all have time to write and never give up. As a single mom with 2 kids, Morrison wrote her first novel, The Bluest Eye, in 15-minute increments each day because that’s all the free time she had. It took her 5 years to write it.

She kept writing despite her novel’s low sales. 3 years later, her next novel, Sula, was nominated for the National Book Award. Her following novels received mixed reviews, but she remained determined.

In 1987, 17 years after publishing her 1st novel, she won the Pulitzer. If you have a dream project, work on it bit by bit. Don’t let critics sap the joy you get from your work. Toni Morrison lived her life with passion and unending grace. She taught me to keep writing.

You were the GOAT, Ms. Morrison. How lucky we are to forever inhabit your multitude of worlds through your gorgeous books. Rest in Power, because that is what you gave all of us—the power of our own language, our own stories. What a life. What a gift.

Joy project: My Emerson Page book is becoming an audio book

Emerson at the MetExcited to share that this Fall I’ll be recording the audiobook for Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, and launching it on Audible later this year. Actress Alexandra Taylor will be narrating and I’ll be producing, directing, and editing it. The audiobook will have cut scenes that were not included in the book, and it will have some other Easter eggs as well for listeners to hear. I’m really excited to make the beginning of Emerson’s journey accessible in this format. It’s been on my list for quite a while and Alex’s interest in voicing it gave me the push I needed to make it happen. Thanks, Alex!

Joy today: I received a TopShelf Magazine 2020 Book Award Nomination

46503287_10104647880412206_2671404984494456832_oI don’t know what lovely person made my day on Saturday, but they sure did. I found out that my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was nominated for a TopShelf Magazine 2020 Book Award. I received an email with the happy news last night and I’d really like to thank the person who nominated me. If it was you, please let me know! For now, I’m just tossing copious amounts of gratitude and joy into the universe.

Joy today: My TV pilot script for Emerson Page

46503287_10104647880412206_2671404984494456832_oYesterday I clicked submit on my TV pilot script for my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. Thanks to the encouragement of my friend and mentor, John Bucher, I sent it off to see if Emerson might have a TV life. I loved the structure and editing process of writing for TV, and am excited about all the possibilities for stories told in this medium, especially for streamers like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Here’s to dreams, written and made.  

Joy today: Adapting my Emerson Page novel for television

46718934_10104658469711166_9080861620359397376_oInspired by the masterful adaptation of Good Omens on Amazon Prime (have your watched yet?!), the Masterclass with Shonda Rhimes, and encouraging tweets from my friend and mentor, John Bucher, I’m adapting my Emerson Page novel into a TV script. Given its visual nature and dialogue, I’m already halfway there! Thanks to so many of you who have loved Emerson’s story and supported my writing. It means a lot to me and this adaptation is for you! I’m about 30 pages into the 50 page pilot. I’ll finish all the editing this week and then submit it to a the screenwriting competition in L.A. that John Bucher told me about. SMH that this ideas was here all along. I never thought about it for TV until seeing Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens work. He made me realize books for TV can work!

Joy today: Talking to 4th graders about writing

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Me talking with 4th graders about writing

I had a blast chatting with a class of 4th graders via Skype yesterday about my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, about all things writing. It’s a gift to be an author and encourage young people to tell their stories. Also, teachers inspire me and are the very best humans. Amy Artl is so passionate about helping her students understand the writing and revising process. I’m glad that I could encourage them by explaining that all of the things they have to manage in their writing—finding inspiration, the struggle of editing, and dealing with conflict—are all things that every writer manages, especially me!

Yesterday was their last day of school, and Amy promised them they could finish the book before today was over. They cheered and my heart melted! Want me to chat with your school about writing via Skype or Google Hangout? I’d love to. Get in touch with me and let’s set it up!

Joy today: 2 pages a day gets a book written

Writers, are you ever overwhelmed by the enormity of your work. Hi, that’s my natural state of being all the time. I love being a writer. I love writing. And sometimes I feel the weight of my responsibility to do justice to a story to the point that I feel paralyzed.

My friend, Laurie, posted about this advice she got years ago from a writing group: write two pages every day. That’s it. Just two small pages. You don’t need whole days to write. You need tiny, focused windows on a consistent basis. One word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time. In a year you’ve got a book, and a pretty big one at that.

Two pages. I can do that any day. So can you. And we will.

Joy today: How I keep writing with a 2-inch picture frame

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My 2-inch picture frame by Christa Avampato

Whenever I’m overwhelmed by my writing, I tell myself a story I learned from Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. Right now, in this one small moment, I don’t need to write the whole novel. I just need to write enough words to fill a 2-inch picture frame. That’s it. And then when I finish that, I’ll write another 2-inch picture frame. And that is enough. That’s how every book gets written: one word at a time. This little frame to the left has seen me through every case of writer’s block, every creative panic attack, every lack of inspiration. And I’m so grateful for its wisdom (and Anne’s!)

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