Erin Bowman // author, type nerd, harry potter enthusiast

Last Month's Lowdown

Hello, friends! January felt like the longest month ever, but at least I got lots done.

I'm currently waiting on an edit letter for Contagion2, so I spent most of January reading and playing with my New Shiny. I'm now up to 33k, which ain't too shabby. The fact that it's a new idea definitely helps, but I also think I've made so much progress because 1) I'm not on twitter and 2) I keep bouncing between tasks. More on this below. But first, some general updates:

If you follow me on instagram, you probably noticed a few announcements this past month. For starters, you can now request an ARC of Contagion via my website, so if you're interesting in snagging an early copy, go forth and request! I'm also hosting a little swag giveaway for The Radical Element, the historical fiction anthology I have a story in that releases in March. Check the insta post (linked above) for details on how to enter. 

And lastly, I announced that the littlest Bowman is soon to be the not-so-littlest. Baby Boy is due in late April! I'm super excited but am also frantically running around trying to prepare as much as possible before our life descends into newborn chaos. This includes cleaning out the nursery, sorting through old baby clothes, editing Contagion's sequel as much as possible before April, and getting tons of words down on the New Shiny while I still have a routine sleeping schedule and some semblance of energy.

I gotta say, though: getting things in order before my first kiddo arrived was pretty manageable, even with deadlines. Trying to do all this while chasing a 3yo? Not so much. I even have a nanny a few days a week and am still barely surviving. Hats off to all the writers out there who also full-time parent. I don't know how you do it. 💗 

Bringing Up Baby (Bowman)

The (currently) littlest Bowman is very excited about becoming a big sister. We've been reading tons of book about new family additions. She's a very literal, explain-it-to-me child, so Ready, Set, Baby! has been a wonderful kid-friendly resource on newborns. She's also giggled quite a bit to Little Rabbit's New Baby and has greatly enjoyed Julius, the Baby of the World

But our favorite "new baby" book and her book pick for this month i
s You Were the First written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. With so much talk focused on the new baby, it was nice to have a story that focused on her—the baby that made me a parent. This is a very sweet, thoughtful, and timeless book. A perfect gift for any firstborn who is soon to be a big sibling, and sure to be appreciated by parents as well.

Writing Heart-to-Heart

I think many things are necessary when attempting to get a draft on paper: inspiration, continued momentum, a hefty amount of grit/determination/stubbornness to not quit.

I've had all these things with my previous novels and I feel like I have them again now with New Shiny. However, I'm well past what I like to call the honeymoon phase. I typically write the first 15-20k of a new story in a burst of excitement and then peter out. This project is still going strong at 33k.

I may very well peter out eventually, but right now, it's impossible for me to ignore that something is different, and I'm pretty sure that something is this: For the first time that I can remember, I'm intentionally letting myself stray from the project. What? you say. That's the opposite of maintaining momentum, which is what you said you wanted to do just last month. True, but only somewhat. When I have felt inspired to write, I have not ignored that feeling. I've spent the time at my computer, willingly getting the words down. But when I've felt uninspired, I've let myself step away without guilt.

In the past, I've handled these uninspired boughts by transitioning from computer to notebook—brainstorming in analog. There's still a time and place for this, of course, but lately, I haven't been forcing myself to try to puzzle out a roadblock on paper when I'm not inspired. Instead I just... don't work on the book, period. I read or take a walk or design new swag. I get away from the act of writing words altogether.

I read a lot of books in January. Way more than is typical for me. As a self-motivated workaholic, part of me felt guilty about reading instead of writing. But when my body said "Let me read," I tried listening, and what do you know? I still had a new 20k to show for it at the end of the month. Similarly, I had obligations in January to attend to: some design work for a friend, prepping my taxes (because I want them filed and out of the way long before this baby arrives). Moving away from the story—even when I didn't want to—didn't cause my momentum to suffer like I thought it might. It just made me more anxious to get back to the book, and when it was time to write again, I dove back in eagerly.

But perhaps the biggest difference with this drafting process, is that in the down time between writing, I AM NOT ON TWITTER. My twitter hiatus has helped my creativity immensely. Instead of scrolling through online noise during the quiet moments between tasks, I just move on to the next thing on my to-do list. I'm staying engaged with meaningful tasks (be it reading or even taxes) and that productivity has been infectious. I feel efficient, motivated, accomplished. And all of that positivity continues to feed into my writing.

It's so easy for us writers to beat ourselves up with guilt. Why can't I produce this faster? Why am I reading when I should be writing? If I don't write every day, I'll lose my momentum and the story will disappear on me. I should be doing more. MORE MORE MORE.

I think "write every day" is one of the worst pieces of writing advice. (I'm sure it works for some people. If it works for you, great. Please keep at it and don't take offense.) But the majority of writers I know (myself included) do not write every day unless deadlines absolutely demand it. Writing every day makes us miserable and/or causes our work to suffer. I'm more a fan of the "think about your book every day" approach, and even that shouldn't be a law. Some days, the best thing you can do for yourself and for your book is to avoid it. To not think about it. To give your subconscious some time to breathe. (And that includes not being online.)

So to everyone out there slogging their way through a first draft, please remember to listen to your body. If it wants to write for two weeks straight (as I did earlier in January), by all means, write every day for two weeks straight. And then if your body tells you all it wants to do is binge-read a new release, by all means, spend a whole day on the couch reading. Your book will still be there when you return. The inspiration behind it won't vanish. It may take you a few hours to get back into the groove, but your body will thank you for the reprieve and soon enough you'll be in the midst of another two week writing sprint.

And if you can swing it, please consider some type of social media hiatus. Mine has rebooted my creativity, helped me find love in my writing process again, and made me honestly and truly happier. In the words of a dumbfounded Gilderoy Lockhart, "It's just like magic!"

Win an ARC of Contagion!

I'm giving away two arcs of Contagion exclusively to newsletter subscribers. I'll draw two winners on February 23rd at noon EST, so make sure you enter before then. Giveaway will be open internationally.

Click here to enter »

Links of Interest

Request an ARC of Contagion via Yours Truly
5 Secrets of Good Storytelling That Writers Forget All the Time by K.M. Weiland
Brutally Honest Thoughts About Advances, Sales, and Book Reception by Fonda Lee
What the Job of a Sensitivity Reader is Really Like by Lila Shapiro
10 Highly Anticipated 2018 Book-to-Film Adaptations via Publishers Weekly
YA Book Covers and the Google Arts & Culture Face Match App via Epic Reads


Upcoming Events

MARCH 20th @ 7PM
THE RADICAL ELEMENT event with Jess Spotswood, Sara Farizan, and Mackenzi Lee 
at Trident Booksellers in Boston, MA

APRIL 7th @ 2PM
Derry Author Fest
at Derry Public Library in Derry, NH

See calendar for full event details »


Recent Pins

Inspiration art recently added to my pinterest boards. I do not own these images, nor are they officially associated with my books.
CREDIT: stills from Alien Covenant / Life / Alien Covenant

Currently Reading

by Nic Stone

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
The Lies They Tell by Gillian French
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir*
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Star (*) denotes a personal favorite.

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Photo by @jaimearkin
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 For signed copies: Gibson's Bookstore

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Erin Bowman · PO Box 178 · Concord, NH 03302 · USA

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