For Readers & Writers

from Susan Dennard

May 9, 2014
My husband has been out of town for a week, which has led to me gorging on rom-coms and My Love from the Star (a K-drama). I am 10 episodes into that show, and UNGH. The tension is through the roof!! I am obsessed with ALL the subplots and side characters too.

I also watched the first episodes in the new You're All Surrounded and OH MY GOSH. I am instantly obsessed and cannot WAIT for the next episode to come up on Viki. First of all, Lee Seung-gi is just....*sigh* Second of all, the backstory was actually entertaining for once. Usually I hate K-dramas that spend the first episode with backstory, but this one totally hooked me. It was the perfect balance of comedy, romance, and creepy mystery. Plus, LEE SEUNG-GI!!!!

Ahem. *cough, cough* Back to me being a professional author and discussing professional author-ly things rather than gushing over beautiful K-drama boys...


For the Misfits:
Meet Me at RT Next Week!
First off, the winner of the Strange & Ever After ARC is...

I emailed ya, Michelle. And I extend a GIANT thank you to everyone else who participated--there'll be ANOTHER giveaway next month (or perhaps...two!!), so keep your eyes peeled. ;)

So I'll be at the Romantic Time Convention next week in New Orleans! WOOHOO! I plan on attending panels as much as I can and indulging my writer-side to the extreme. I love hearing about craft and industry, so 5 days of listening to other authors talk about their work sounds like absolute BLISS to me.

For those of you who'll be there, COME MEET ME!!! Here's where I'll be:

Market Yourself Like a Celebrity -- panel at 1:30 PM in Room Balcony K (with Sarah J. Maas, Erin Bowman, Tessa Gratton, and Victoria Scott)

Avon's Krewe of Muses -- party at 6:15 PM in the Acadia Grand Ballroom

The Giant Book Fair -- at 11:00 AM in the Grand Ballroom and Mardis Gras Ballroom. I'll be signing books and handing out swag! Find me (it's arranged alphabetically).

Teen Day -- at 6:15 PM in the Mardis Gras Ballroom. (I'm afraid this is for teens only. :()

Clearly that fills very little of my time, so keep your eyes peeled for me in the halls and byways! I'll always have swag, so don't hesitate to ask

 For the Daydreamers:
Don't Make Writing Your Only Hobby

A year or two ago, my dad gave me some advice along the lines of, "Pursuit lots of different creative endeavors. It'll enrich your writing and teach you more about yourself."

As per usual, I found Dad's advice annoying at the time. I mean, I'm old enough to know what sort of creative endeavors I want to do! Sorry, but photography isn't it, Dad! (My dad's a photographer, by the way. The advice came up because he wanted me to join him at one of his weekend workshops.)

And, as per usual, it took me a few years to realize how very true my father's words actually were. On the one hand, more hobbies means more experiences, and a more diverse day-to-day DOES enrich your life. An enriched life leads to more powerful and more satisfying writing.

But there's more to it than that. If writing is your only hobby--your only creative outlet for expression--then it's going to be all the harder to accept and learn from criticism. For most of my life, my writing was where I poured out everything inside of me. In high school, typing out stories on my ancient IBM was a steady, reliable, safe place I could retreat. No matter what kind of crap I went through at school, I knew the keyboard and blinking cursor awaited me at home.

That got me through the day.

Now, though, writing is my job. I get trade reviews and blogger reviews and gushing or hateful reader mail. All that stuff that used to make me feel safe is now my number one source of vulnerability. Whenever I send out a new book to my critique partners or whenever a new book of mine hits shelves, I feel horribly exposed and as terrifyingly anxious as I used to feel in the ninth grade.

So while writing can still be my safe haven (particularly shiny new projects that I know no one will read anytime soon), sometimes the words scare me. Sometimes, there's so much potential for failure behind that blinking cursor that writing is the last thing I want to do. And in those moments, I need a DIFFERENT safe haven. A different place to create and express.

Right now, I have two main hobbies: sewing and making beauty products. I'm pretty bad at both of those things, but I enjoy the trial and error of it all. I like the steady whir of the sewing machine, and I like that I can let my mind and heart wonder. I'll blast my epic music, let my stories bump against each other in the back of my mind, and when I'm done with the stitching session, I'll have a few new ideas and a new pillowcase to boot.

When it comes to making bath/beauty products, I like the meticulous measuring of butters and waxes and powders. I like experimenting with pigments and textures and scents. Most of all, I like that I can
attempt a tinted lip balm, fail miserably, and then try again tomorrow with a bit more knowledge under my belt.

It's empowering.

I like website design. I like editing film and animating. I like repurposing furniture. I like cooking. I like singing at the top of my lungs and making up songs for my dogs to suffer through. I like interior decorating. I like making jewelry...*

Am I any good at those hobbies? Hell no. I'm actually quite terrible at all of them. But I enjoy what I'm doing while I'm doing it, and I feel safe. I feel free. I feel like me, and that's what really matters.

So if writing is currently your only hobby, I urge you to try something else--anything else! Gardening, martial arts, watercolors, or HTML coding. Experiment, learn, grow. Not only will your writing improve because of it, but your happiness will to. And, if you ever get published, you'll be so glad you have those other outlets to escape to. :)

Now, to wrap up, here are the best writing-related links I discovered this week: See you on Monday on the blog! If you have any questions about ANYTHING, drop by the forum to ask. AND, just FYI, there won't be a Misfits & Daydreamers issue next week (since I'll be in New Orleans!!).
*Funnily enough, the one hobby I still don't enjoy is photography (sorry Dad).

photo by Emily Rae Photography

Copyright © 2014
Susan Dennard
All rights reserved.

110 West 40th St., Suite 410
New York, NY 10018

I'm a misfit, a daydreamer, an animal-lover, and a (now gluten-free) cookie-eater.