Can we just get this over with?

I am sick of writing my serial.

There, I’ve said it.

This week, I’ve resolved to crank this puppy out as fast as humanly possible, because I fear it has taken over my writing life. I haven’t written a piece of fiction in months other than episodes of Glixman in a Fix.

serial title image

Can I just kill off Mendel’s Aunt Rina?

If I didn’t have readers come over to me every couple weeks and tell me how much they look forward to each episode, I think I would have thrown in the towel already.

I have a bad, baaaaaad feeling that some editor will Continue reading

Exploring other media to conquer writer’s block

So, earlier this week, I had a case of the blahs. I suppose I didn’t technically have writer’s block–the problem was more that I didn’t want to do anything, not that I couldn’t write–but the results were the same.

My muddle

My best friend phoned. I told her my sad story. I didn’t want to write. I felt uncreative and just foggy in the head. She suggested I do something different, maybe go for a walk. Just don’t even try to write. Reboot.

The way out

For some reason, I’ve been getting back into art gradually over the last year. As a child and teen, I loved art, but like many people quit when I realized my mediocrity.

poem collage

My collage poem.

I’ve been taking a lot of photos lately, even framing them and displaying them in my home. I’ve done a bit of sketching, as well, although that tends to send me back to a place where all I see is my lack of skill instead of getting pleasure from exercising what skill I have.

Anyway, after my phone call, I was itching to make a collage. I didn’t give into the itch right away, but as my kids settled in for homework this evening, I grabbed a couple magazines and a pair of scissors.  Continue reading

What? No love triangle? How books for Jewish teens fit into current YA trends

If you ask observant Jewish teens here in the U.S. whether they overall prefer Jewish books or secular ones, most of them will tell you secular books (trust me, I write for teens, so I’ve asked). Sad, but true.

Why most Orthodox teens prefer secular books

Interestingly, some of these teens will tell you that they wish there were more Jewish books for teens that suited them. Others will tell you they don’t like either Jewish or secular novels — the former don’t engage them, and latter conflict with their religious beliefs.

Thursday, I caught an excellent article on CNN about the history of YA novels in the U.S. You can read it here. There was little that was news to me in the article, but it did make me think about something that’s troubled me for a while — namely why so many Jewish teens are enthralled by secular books that don’t necessarily reflect the values of their families.

Let’s consider why secular YA books are currently selling like hotcakes. Continue reading

I am not a blogger

I am not a blogger.

There, I said it.

I came to this realization yesterday, after the funny (as in “weird,” not in “haha”) response I had to PopChassid’s marvelous list of 7 bloggers he thinks deserve more attention. As I read about all the fabulous bloggers (Several I had heard of, and a couple I had not…my favorite post by one of the unfamiliar ones was Ruchi Koval’s interview with her yetzer hara. Just so funny and true!), I felt more and more (embarrassing to admit) jealous.

Now, I’ve blogged here before about how important it is not to envy other writers. I’m a big believer in being farginen those around me. But I sensed something unusual about the variety of jealousy I was experiencing. Continue reading

Considering my last year of literary pursuit

Since there are just two weeks left of the Jewish year of 5773, I’ve been looking back at the last year and evaluating my life on every level: spiritual, physical, and even professional. And one goal still stands out at unfulfilled:

I STILL HAVEN’T PUBLISHED BOOK #2.

This issue depressed me a couple weeks ago, as I sat in front of my journal on Rosh Chodesh Elul (exactly one month before Rosh Hashanah), scribbling about the past year. I’d submitted a few picture books and two novels to multiple publishers and had zilch to show for it.

But then I counted how many times I appeared in print in the last year for pay: over two dozen times (bli ayin hara).

And then, I counted how many words I’d written. Essentially, it was the length of a novel. Wow.

I realized at that point how many more readers — potentially thousands more people — read my work in magazines this year than in my entire previous professional life.

That’s when I felt blessed.

Okay, I still have a major unfulfilled goal. It will be top of my professional goals again for this 5774. But if success is measured in progress, I made a lot of progress last year. And I could only do it with G-d’s help, which makes the year feel very sweet indeed.

How are you feeling about your last year, professionally? What is your top goal for 5774?

I stepped up to the challenge…but did I succeed?

Well.

A couple months ago, I challenged writers to try something new: a new genre, new POV, new publication, anything that would help us to stretch our wings.

Since I threw down the gauntlet, I had to participate in this challenge, right? So I thought about a couple possible places to sub a feature, a genre I hadn’t published in at least two years. Then I brainstormed a few feature ideas, and I sent our queries based on them.

Guess what.

I got nada.

I know that my ultimate success isn’t in my hands, so I feel like I did my share and can take no responsibility for the rest. And I plan to try for features and other new things, too. In fact, I heard about a poetry contest that sounds so interesting, I’m thinking of attempting serious poetry for the first time in many years.

So, is this a success–because I did try something new–or is this a failure–because I didn’t get responses to my queries?

What do you think? (Please post comments below.)

rocket failure

Never made it off the launch pad.