Monday, October 29, 2012

It's my party and I'll do a giveaway if I want to

Today's my birthday. I don't like to celebrate it much these days, because I'm at that stage where birthdays are just reminders that I'm traveling away from youth at nauseating speed. However, I do think it's a great opportunity to reflect. Especially because, three years ago, my birthday became forever entwined with something else: the anniversary of my birth as a writer.

Three years. My birthday was on a Friday that year, I think, and that weekend, with zero creative writing experience and no previous desire to do so, I dived headfirst into writing my first novel.

That act has changed the shape of my entire life--mostly in good ways.

To acknowledge all of that, I was hoping you'd join me in a little exercise:

What I used to believe
What I know now

I'll take a few turns, and then maybe you can join in? One commenter today will get a $20 gift card (because hey, it's my birthday, and I can celebrate however I want to!).

What I used to believe: Writing is something only Writers do--the ones with MFAs and stints in the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

What I know now: Writing is something everybody who feels the urge can and should do.

What I used to believe: It's all about THIS novel! I will not abandon this story! I can't! It's a matter of loyalty!

What I know now: Not every story is viable or worthy. I will not abandon writing, but I might move on from a project, even if I love it. There are more words and ideas where that one came from.

What I used to believe: I am a special, special snowflake for writing a novel.

What I know now: I am one of thousands and thousands. If I want to be successful, I have to have a lot more than raw talent. I have to work my tail off.

What I used to believe: Writing is a purely artistic and creative process. When the magic is there, I write, and when it's not, I take it easy.

What I know now: I am a professional, and I need to act like one. Some days I may not feel like getting up and going to work, but that doesn't mean I don't have to show up.

What I used to believe: Writing is a solitary endeavor.

What I know now: Writing is a team sport.

I could go on and on. Like I said, a lot has changed in the last three years. I've learned so much. I've made so many friends. I am so grateful.

Now--your turn! Give it a whirl: What you used to believe ... and what you know now. It totally doesn't have to be about writing, by the way. It can be about anything important in your life. GO!

Oh, and on Wednesday, Halloween, I'll be guest posting at the Amazon Kindle blog--a Dark City Survival Guide. I'll link to it from here and hope you check it out. It was a pretty fun post to write. And on Friday, I'll be celebrating something else: the release of Laura Diamond's novella NEW PRIDE! What a week!

Winner of the gift card will be announced next Monday!


  1. Gosh, what you've learned hit it on the head for me. It's true. It is about THIS novel, the one that's kept you up at night, the one you've seen reeling over the silver screen in your head. AND yes, writing is a beauty thing. I've learn it's simply a part of what makes

  2. What I used to believe: Getting a book on the shelf will be enough.
    What I know: One is never, ever enough.

    Happy Birthday!

  3. I used to think you had to be born a writer to be one. I now know that's not true. It's the result of a lot of hard work, great feedback that challenges you to improve your craft, and craft books/workshops (at least for me).

  4. I used to think: that my friends would be there forever.
    What I know now: Some leave, some change; and new ones will always be on their way.
    Happy Birthday :)

  5. Wow I absolutely love seeing your progress as a writer, I know a lot of people who would benefit from this!!

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday!!!

  6. What I used to believe: Going online will only distract me from my writing.

    What I know now: Going online distracts me from my writing, but it's worth it. :-)

    Happy Birthday!

  7. What I used to believe - After graduating from college, one must immediately get a job and jumpstart his/her career. 'Bumming around' is not an option.

    What I know now - Things aren't actually that simple. It's okay to take a few months off to figure things out because really, just because one person immediately gets a job after graduation doesn't mean you have to do the same. We're all individuals here - what works for one doesn't necessarily work for the other.

    Happy birthday! Have a good one! :)

  8. What I used to Believe: That your high school friendships would last forever

    What I know now: High school isn't forever and neither are the people. Everyone changes and the best relationships will be the ones to last.

  9. Happy birthday!

    I agree on all your points. My favorite:

    "I am a special, special snowflake for writing a novel."

    You made me laugh out loud!

  10. Used to believe: You need to have a talent for writing to write a novel.
    Know now: There might be "talented" writers out there, but you can also fake talent via hard work.

    Happy Birthday!

  11. Happy birthday, dear friend!

    Let's see.
    What I used to believe: that I would never get over mistakes.
    What I know now: Tincture of time is pretty effective. You remember the mistakes and learn from them, but you can appreciate them later.

    What I used to believe: I was never smart enough
    What I know now: I'm just fine. Brilliant enough for my own life!

  12. Yay! Happy birthday!!

    And let's see... Ooh! Deleting something doesn't have to be a forever thing. You can always use that passage (or MS idea) on another WIP

  13. You ARE a special snowflake. ;-)

    Happy Birthday Frieta!


  14. Sarah--BAH!!! You crack me up w/"I am a special, special snowflake for writing a novel." *snort* :D

    But I'm so with you on the "team sport" and on the "working my tail off." These are things I always knew, but I feel like I've been living them lately. Thanks, hon, and *psst* *whispers* happy birthday! ;o) <3

  15. What I thought then: someday I'll be a Real Grownup.
    What I know now: never gonna happen.

    It's my birthday too. Happy shared birthday! :-)

  16. hi miss dr sarah!

    for sure youre just way special snowflake! snowflakes are cool cause not one is the same and for sure no ones as cool as you.

    HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! me and you are birthday buddies cause i just had mine on the 20th. i hope you have a happy happy day!

    i used to believe im a crummy writer and no one could wanna read my stories.
    now i believe im still a crummy writer but i write cause i love it and i dont care if no one wants to read my stories. :)

    ...big happy birthday hugs from lenny

  17. Happy Birthday!! Congrats on publishing Sanctum too;)

    What I used to believe: I'll only be successful when I achieve what everyone else believes success is supposed to look like.

    What I know now: Success is something I make, something I define, and whatever brings me happiness.

    What I used to believe: Childhood friends accept you exactly the way you are and no matter how you'll grow.

    What I know now: Real friends accept you no matter who you are, no matter how you change to become the person that's right for you.

    Thank you!

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  18. I am celebrating my xxth aniversary of being a dad. I am so thankful and proud to be your dad, as well as your sisters'. I regard being a father as my major contribution to today's world and tomorrow's. Love from your Dad

    what i used to believe: i don't know all that much
    what i know now: i don't know all that much
    some things new change, i suppose. :P

    1. *never*
      ((apparently i don't even know how to type the word "never" correctly on the first try :P ))

  20. Yay! Happy Birthday!!!!!

    About what you've learned--I concur.

    Thanks for the shout out!

  21. What I Used to Believe: I will one day run out of books to read that interest me.
    What I Know Now: I will never make it through the TBR pile that I own.

    Happy birthday, special snowflake! :-D

  22. This is just a wonderful post. Yes to all those points. And Happy Birthday!!!!

    What I Used to Believe: I have control over what I do.
    What I Know Now: There are many things I have no control of, but I can control how I deal with the circumstances.

  23. Happy birthday!!

    What I used to believe: something is wrong with me for wasting my degree by going into the arts and not making much money and doing something I love and going off the beaten path instead of getting a 9-9 with a 401K.

    What I Know Now: what other life would I want? :)

  24. Happy birthday, Sarah!

    I used to believe: Things will be better tomorrow.

    What I know now: If I want things to be better tomorrow I better have a plan today.

  25. what I use to believe : That I would magically find the one person ment for me, that I would easily find and understand my life.

    what I know now: That yes maybe all of my dreams and wants will come true, but not without loss or heartache to follow. And I will never understand, but can still be happy.

    Happy belated Birthday. It was my moms birthday too, wonder you book was so fantastic. ;) keep it up.

  26. A belated happy birthday to you, Sarah. (And you're still a special, special snowflake, even if you no longer believe it.)

  27. Happy Belated B-day!!

    What I Used to Believe- that writing would always come easy to me.

    What I Know Now- I need to keep up with it or I'll fall way behind. Ideas aren't enough.

    Lauren51990 AT aol DOT com