06 August

#BlinkBlog: Back To School Advice and Fall Reading Lists

A new week means a new #BlinkBlog! See what our authors have are reading this fall and get the scoop on their advice on focusing on writing during the school year.

Any fall reading plans?

Alison Gervais:  I’m very much looking forward to reading fellow Blink author McCall Hoyle’s MEET THE SKY. I’ve already pre-ordered. 😊

Annie Sullivan: I have so many books in my TBR pile, that I feel like I have enough books to last me for years. So my fall reading plans are to just start working through the pile and see how many books I can get through because I know I’ll constantly be adding to that pile as more and more books come out!

CJ Lyons: Absolutely! Two of my fav authors have books coming out towards the end of the year: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor and Elizabeth Arden’s Winter of the Witch

Laurie Boyle Crompton: I’ve been reading up on the history of drive-in theaters as research for my next book project which has been a lot of fun. And I’m constantly reading books about the craft of writing because I am always learning and growing as an author. It’s been a while since I re-read Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD so that’s on my ‘to read again soon’ list. Also, I have a doggie training guide on my shelf that I keep meaning to get to because our pups are super-loving but also a bit wild and out of control.

Lorie Langdon: In the fall, I like to read more mystery and spooky thriller novels. If you’ve read my book, GILT HOLLOW, you know I’m down for a good whodunit!

A few books on my TBR for autumn are: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn, A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, and The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

McCall Hoyle: Young adult fiction is my mainstay, but I also plan to do some professional reading this fall. Two of my all-time favorite educators, Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle, recently released a book called 180 Days that I’ve been dying to read. It’s next up on my TBR pile.

Stephanie Morrill: This fall my line-up is Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan, and Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof.

What advice do you have for young authors trying to stay focused on writing as they begin a new school year?

Alison Gervais: Try to find a balance between writing and school, whatever that may be. Both are important.

Annie Sullivan: Balancing school work, a social life, and writing can be hard, but if you really reserve time in your schedule for writing like you would a job or homework, then you won’t get off track. But also remember that part of being a good writer is going out there and having experiences, so if you miss a few days of writing, don’t beat yourself up. You’ve got plenty of time to get back on track!

CJ Lyons: For an introvert like me, the drawback of a new school year was meeting all those new people. I used my writing to help make sense of the chaos (poetry and journaling are great for this) and used the start of the school year as a time to observe people and ferment new story ideas, which I’d save up for later when I had time to really focus on them.

Laurie Boyle Crompton: Always keep some blank pages and a pen close by. Journaling is the best way to keep that Pilot Precise V5 moving during busy and hectic times. It’s also a great way to process the changes that are happening around you! I love the quote from Flannery O’Connor; “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” I still find myself working through stressful events and big changes with my pen moving. It really helps me keep in touch with myself!

Lorie Langdon:  My advice for any author is to touch your manuscript every day. Even if it’s a bit of research, characterization, or just writing one paragraph. Keeping your head in your story will help ensure that it doesn’t get pushed aside for months at a time.

McCall Hoyle: Set aside a designated time to right every day, and put your butt in the chair no matter what. I read an article years ago when I used to run that said if you put on your running clothes and tie your shoes, you’re way more likely to actually get out the door and get your miles in. I think this applies to writing too. If you put your butt in the chair even if you just sit there and stare at a blank computer screen, you’re way more likely to get some words written. Once you’ve written something, you can always revise it, which you can’t do if you haven’t written anything.

Stephanie Morrill: Think “something” not “everything.” Now that you have responsibilities with school on your plate, you are probably finding it difficult to find big chunks of time to write. Instead of trying to write All The Things, just try to write something. Try to write just a scene, or for 15 minutes. All those drops in the bucket add up, I promise!