November 10, 2016
Hello my lovelies!
For any of you needing a haven, welcome to a quiet space where there will be ...
Absolutely NO election talk, or a single reference to politics after this sentence :)
So. My week. Let's discuss.
It's been a mixed bag!
The good stuff: I do love me the end of Daylight Savings time! As a die-hard morning person, getting that extra hour in the morning to do all the things before the sun came up was glorious.The not-so-good stuff: I've been in a ... weird mood. Not sad, not fired up about anything, more just ... introspective.
You guys ever get that way? Have this strange need to sort of curl inward, wishing you could shut out the world just a little bit, because the stuff coming in feels like a bunch of paper cuts and ego-jabs? Yeah. That.
Luckily I've been able to mostly lose myself in Walk of Shame, and the writing process of this one is joyful and the perfect remedy to writer blues!
Now, about this issue of The Weekly. Remember last week when I mentioned that the husband is writing a cookbook, and I asked if some of you would mind feeling out a quick survey to help him out? Um, you guys went above and beyond. He got SO many responses, and we're both super grateful!
But then it got me thinking ... *mischievous face* ...
Could I talk you guys into answering another survey ... for me???
We're trying it! (it'll open in a new window!)
It's mostly just a few questions about stuff I've been curious on. Absolutely no pressure, if you've got a few extra minutes, I'd love to hear your guys' opinions on the romance genre, your reading preferences, how you buy books, etc etc.
Thanks in advance to everyone who takes the survey!
Also, writing-pals, I've got a bit of a pep-talk below complete with Glee gifs, soooooo ....
Anyone #NaNoWriMo participants out there?
So, real quick for the non-writers among us: #NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month, and it’s where writers all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words in the month of November.
Strictly speaking, I’m not participating because you’re supposed to dive in with a new project, and I’d already started Walk of Shame before November rolled around, but I’ll most definitely be hitting the 50k mark with the rest of you!
To celebrate the awesomeness that is this program, I put together a video on how I set up new books in my favorite writing program, Ulysses.
Now, the video’s SUPER long, I did it more for Ulysses newbies who were curious about whether it could be used for novel-writing (YES!), but I’m so excited to announce that the people over at Ulysses actually found the video, liked it, and included it in their newsletter?!
It’s gotten all sorts of traffic and fun feedback.
Note: If you’re not a writer or have no interest in Ulysses, you’ll find this 20-minute video a snore fest, but if you’re curious about my writing process, this is it EXACTLY as it happens!
What I'm Working On
Walk of Shame is due next week. And it's right on schedule, which I'm mostly happy about because there'll be no last-minute deadline freak out.
But I'm freaking out for another reason ... I don't want to be done with this one! I've had SO much fun, and it's been wonderfully easy.
Which, TRUST ME, does not happen with every book. Or even most books!
The Lincoln countdown!
Speaking of books I’m smitten with, can we all have a heart attack together, because Lincoln’s book is officially less than 1 month away!
Ask Lauren Anything - Audiobook Availability
***note: longtime subscribers can skip this one!***
I'm cheating a bit and summarizing multiple people's questions with one answer.
And yes, it's one that many of you have seen many times before, but these questions continue to role in every single day, so just a friendly reminder that there are always lovely newcomers to the LL-world and they haven't yet gotten the scoop!
First variation of question:
I prefer audio-books, but only some of your books are on audio, and of those, only a handful are on Audible, while the others are only on CD. Please release ALL of them on Audible!
Second variation of question:
Please stop releasing digital-only titles, I only read paperback!
Single answer to both questions:
This is not up to me. I'm bummed that you're bummed, but I don't get a say.
See, while self-published authors have this sort of control over the formats of their book, we authors who publish through a New York publishing house do not.
I promise you we authors are not sitting around thinking, "Hmm, I want THIS one in print, THIS one on Audible, THIS one digital-only!"
It's so, SO much more complicated than that. It depends on whether or not anyone wants audio rights of a particular book, and whether or not anyone wants to print that particular book.
Trust me, if it was up to me, ALL my books would be on every shelf in every airport, and every one of my books would be available on Audible. It's just not that simple. Not for authors, not for publishers.
Nobody is is trying to rob you of any book boyfriends, I PROMISE. It's just that publishing is a business, and a quirky one at that!
In case you missed the links above, here's another chance to answer a few question about authors, social media, romance, sex scenes, and your favorite LL book!
No pressure, like I said, it's just stuff that's been on my mind lately!
Note: Survey will open in a new window!
Write Tip for my Writing Peeps!
Internal vs. External Locus of Control
Yup, brace yourself, kids, we are going to GEEK.IT.UP. right now, and we're going to go to a deep place. But, I promise it's in the interest of helping all of us creative types stay sane!
Because much as I hate to admit it, I'm starting to think the stereotype of us writers being volatile might not be entirely inaccurate. Like, sometimes I'm all living up inside my head where it's straight-up crazy town, and I'll be I'm like, "Ohhhhhh, that's why Van Gogh cut off his ear...he was having a mood!"
Anyway. Remember at the beginning of this email when I mentioned that I've been feeling a little down the past couple days. I was a little baffled on why--I couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me, because it didn't feel like any of the usual causes.
Then, after talking with the husband, and a couple of friends, I realized why:
I'd started relying on external validation, with an external locus of control.
Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady, I'll explain!
An external locus of control is basically a fancy, self-help-book way of saying that one believes the outcomes in their life come from forces beyond their control.
In contrast, an internal locus of control would mean that someone believes that they are in control of their own future, that what happens to them is a result of their own action.
(You can read more about all that here, because quite honestly, I only read about this recently in Charles Duhigg's Smarter Faster Better, which, while being a fabulous and useful book, absolutely does not qualify me to talk bout the topic with any kind of expertise.)
I'm usually an internal locus of control kind of girl. Intentionally. I deliberately steer clear of having thoughts like, "It is what it is," and instead try to think, "It is what I make it."
I've also got a pretty hefty dose of self-confidence, which means when I succeed at something, I'm quick to claim it as my own victory rather than "luck." I don't really believe in luck.
But the downside of owning my successes? I also have to own my failures. I don't get to say that the good things that happen to me are my own doing, but the bad things are someone else's fault. If I own one, I've got to own the other.
And owning one's failures and learning from them isn't necessarily a bad thing ... if one's internal locus of control is based on internal sources of validation: those things we truly have 100% control.
- Finishing the book on time.
- Sticking to my guns and writing my story, not the one that someone else wanted me to write
- Hitting my social-media presence weekly goal
- Typing "The End"
- Completing NaNoWriMo
- Investing in my longterm career enough to have a professional website
- Saying I'm going go write 6 books in 1 year, and then doing it.
And so on.
These are all things that I can make happen, all by myself. If they don't happen, it's all on me. The magic ingredients are hard work and time management. If they do happen, well then, pop the champagne.
Yay, right? Definitely!
But as writers, it's pretty damn common for external sources of validation to come into play:
- Getting an agent
- Getting an offer from a publisher
- Getting a really good offer from a publisher
- Making a bestseller list
- Getting your book into Walmart or Target
- Getting a movie deal on your book
- Getting a starred review from Publishers Weekly
Trickier. Because while someone with an internal locus of control made out of tungsten still find a way to look at all of those and still think, "I still determine ALL that," it's harder.
It's harder, because like it or not, you can write the best book in you power, and not hit a single bestseller list. You can have a kick-ass query letter and get nothing but rejection if your genre is on the outs in the publishing world. You can put together an awesome proposal for a production company, but if they happened to sign a movie deal on a story just like yours, they're not going to want a second one.
You can do everything right, but sometimes it's someone else's decision that determines whether or not you achieve your personal goal.
And that, my dears ... is dangerous. It's bad for the ego, bad for the soul.
Which tells you a little bit about why I let myself get into a dumpy place of horror the past few days (shout out to Lemmon for and my agent for talking me out of it.)
See, I've spent the past year pep-talking myself that my career is what I make it, that I'm in the driver's seat. I cultivated my internal locus of control like a friggin boss.
And then, all of a sudden, out of NOWHERE this past week, I started hanging ALL my self-worth as a writer on someone else's criteria instead of my own.
I didn't see it coming.
One day I was on top of the world, making USA TODAY bestseller list, writing books left and right, thinking the world was my oyster (such a creepy phrase, btw).
Then all of a sudden, the world around me shifted. I got all these little WALLOPS (some real, most probably in my head) that told me I wasn't nearly as good as I thought I was.
Chinks in armor that I thought was impenetrable.
Now some of you are thinking, "Shut the heck up LL, you whiney snatch, you're doing just fine, I'd kill to be in your shoes."
I am doing fine, I'm doing great, but ...
Gather around closely while I bring you into the inner circle where I tell disquieting truths ...
No matter how successful you become in this business, the battle is always uphill.
Just when you think you've made it, just when you're feeling on top of the world, that very same world will tell you otherwise in teeny-tiny little paper cut ways.
You can follow all the rules, take all the advice, and achieve exactly what everyone tells you you need to achieve.
And then the very next day, the world's like, "News flash, your next idea's not strong enough. Your sales aren't good enough. You don't write fast enough."
I used to think that hitting certain milestones were all it took to "have it all."
That I just needed an agent. Then I got the agent, I needed the book deal. I got the book deal, but then the second deal. Then I needed the print deal. Then it was earning back my advance. Then it was getting reviewed by X. Then it was having a certain number of Twitter followers. Then it was hitting USA Today bestseller list.
So I did all that, but now it feels a bit like, "Who cares, when are you making NYT and having dinner with EL James?"
Maybe it's all in my head. Some of it certainly is.
But regardless, you know what? It needs to stop! I need to stop. I need to stop listening to the stuff that does matter.
I need to look inward for my source of validation.
Which leads me to the "tip" part of this whole post ...
First, if you're a writer, set goals.
Set daily goals. Finishing that scene you're working on before you turn on the TV.
Set yearly goals. Finishing the book, or finishing three books.
And set those big, sexy STRETCH goals. Getting an agent, or making six figures from writing, or seeing your book in Barnes & Noble, seeing USA TODAY bestseller next to your name, stepping onto the red carpet at the movie premier of the the film based on your book ... whatever lights you up from the inside out.
By all means, write those down and dream HARD about them.
Then do me a teeny, TINY favor:
For each of those category of goals, daily, yearly, and stretch, make sure you have at least one goal that rests 100% on your shoulders, something that you can achieve by yourself, for yourself.
Pick something that is precious and just for you, that nobody can take away or diminish.
Maybe it's writing the book of your heart, or quietly saving up the money you make from writing for a special purchase even if it takes years. Maybe it's pushing yourself to write a bit faster and finish two books this year instead of one.
All that other stuff, the Big Time Author/Publishing milestones ... they feel really, really good when you hit them. Reach for them, definitely. I am not one of those fluffy types who's going to tell you to only write for the love of writing and not because you want to make a living out of it. I love money, and I really love making a living from being a writer.
But DO know that the satisfaction you get from achieving all those external goals will be fleeting. And that as soon as you'll achieve them, someone else will always be one step ahead of you, doing better, doing more. And you can tell yourself that it doesn't matter, but someone else will tell you it does matter, and, well ...
You've got to know yourself. You've got to know what you want, first and foremost. Write it down now so you don't get lost like I did.
And here's something: that juicy goal of you decide on that's all on you, independent from any external force?
Sure, if you fail, you've got no one but yourself to blame.
But when you succeed, the success is yours alone, the triumph is yours to savor.
Get ready to celebrate. You're going to be a star on your terms.
Bye for now!
It's been lovely, my darlings.
But after spending all day writing these non-fiction words, my day job requires I go be fabulous and write the fictional variety now.