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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!)

Joy today: I accepted a new job…at the movies

I’m absolutely THRILLED to share that I’ve been offered & accepted a new job as a Development Manager at a TV & film production company in New York City to develop, produce, and write. I’m over-the-moon excited about this new adventure and dream job. I’m literally pinching myself to make sure this is really happening! A year ago I never would have believed this was even a possibility. It’s been a huge lesson for me that if we live our passions and share them, our lives can change in ways we can barely imagine.

Joy today: Sometimes you have to start over with your writing

This morning I realized that I’m going to have to start over. Or rather, my second novel has to be tossed and I have to begin again. I’ve been trying to patch together the pieces for months. Maybe some of them will prove useful down the line. Maybe some of them can be recycled and reused and reformed. But now what I need to do is begin again, all over again. For a split second, the weight of despair was heavy. Months of work just evaporated. And then very quickly, my heart moved from mourning to excitement. A fresh start, a new beginning created by a new ending. This is the creative process. It takes time. It takes patience. You have to be willing to go back to the beginning, reset, and try again. That’s where I am today: at the edge of the cliff, and now I leap.

A Year of Yes: Update from Wind Dancer Films about my Emerson Page book

I have heard back from Wind Dancer Films about the possible film production of my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. They chose not to option it at this time but with solid feedback that they love the story and have logged it in their system for future consideration.

While I of course was hoping for more, I’m also extremely encouraged that they would even read the book, enjoy it, and log it in their system for future consideration all without me having an agent. I’m extremely grateful to Readers’ Favorite and the Miami Book Fair for making this possible, and of course to my publisher, Possibilities Publishing and their imprint, Thumbkin Prints. This is my first novel and is part of a series, so as the other two books are finished and published “some day” could become “one day” for me and Wind Dancer. In the words of Hamilton, maybe it’s only a matter of time.

Also, I will continue to submit to other production companies because maybe this is the right book at the right time for someone else. As always, my focus remains on the readers who need Emerson’s story of resilience and courage to face our deepest fears, just like I did many years ago. She changed my life the day she entered my imagination and I’m honored to be the person sharing her story.

As an artist of any kind, you have to keep at it. Your drive has to be stronger than the sting of any rejections. It’s part of the work. Speaking of which…I better get back to writing Emerson’s second book.

A Year of Yes: Fan mail from a young reader filled my heart

Today my heart’s so full it’s going to burst. I just got this fan letter and art from 10-yr-old Evie, 1 of my young readers. She addressed it to Emerson Page, my book’s heroine. I’m cry-smiling so much my face hurts.

She said the book “was very well written, with good use of figurative language and action packed. Thank you for your memoir of adventure, friendship, and around every corner was a surprise.” I am overjoyed because Evie is exactly the reader I wrote this book for.

I met her dad thanks to the Ologies Podcast FB group. He said that he believes in providing books with strong female characters for Evie to read so how could we not be immediate pals?!

This is the stuff of my dreams as a writer. You better believe I’m saving this letter, framing this art, and replying to this enthusiastic young woman who is articulate, and by the way, has gorgeous hand-writing and mad art skills. 😊😭😍

A Year of Yes: Feeling stuck in your writing? Go outside.

Despite the cold, my senior dog, Phineas, took me on a 2-hour hike through the North Woods of Central Park yesterday. The late afternoon light was just perfect. Time in nature is like a massage for the brain, heart, and spirit. It prompts my creativity. The movement jogs my imagination, restores my resolve to do work that builds a better world. If you need to be restored, get outside. Your restlessness has a purpose. It is meant to move you. Don’t fight it. Go with it. 

A Year of Yes: What I Love Best About Writing a Novel

I am a meticulous outliner, especially when it comes to my fiction writing. Still, you know what I love best about the practice of writing fiction? I never quite know what will be on the page when I’m done with any single block of work. I sit down and I think I know exactly where I’m going. Then, my characters will do something or say something I never expected. A stranger will arrive. A discovery will be made. I’m living this story in the moment with my characters, and I feel lucky to be along for the ride. 

A Year of Yes: Happy book birthday to Emerson Page

Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 9.15.58 AMOne year ago today, I became an author. Thank you so much for all of the love and support during this entire process. It took me 8 years to bring Emerson to life and share her with the world, and her story both saved and changed my life in ways I never even imagined were possible. Happy birthday to my bold, brave girl, Emerson Page. Thank you for letting in the light.

Next stop: Emerson and I will be at the Miami Book Fair from November 15th – 18th where we’ll collect the Readers’ Favorite Award for Young Adult Fiction – Adventure (Gold).

Grab a copy of Emerson’s story on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent bookstores everywhere.

 

A Year of Yes: How the book A Wrinkle in Time is giving us strength in trying times

“Stay angry, little Meg,” Mrs Whatsit whispered. “You will need all your anger now.”

No matter what happens next week, these wise words by the brilliant Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, remind me that there is so much work ahead of us to build a better world. And we can. And we will‬

A Year of Yes: Hannah Gadsby is a role model for storytellers

Like everyone else I know, I am riveted and inspired by Hannah Gadsby’s show, Nanette. (If you haven’t seen it, go to Netflix immediately. I will not at all be offended that you stop reading this blog post because she is genius.) Her words about storytelling are the ones that really got me, and they are powerful advice and wisdom for all of us, and particularly those of us who tell stories in any way, shape, or form.

“I think I have to quit comedy. Because there’s a difference between stories and jokes. Stories have 3 parts: a beginning, middle, and end. Jokes have 2: beginning and middle. You learn from the part of the story you focus on. I need to tell my story. My story has value. I will not allow my story to be destroyed. Stories are our cure.”

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