Losing Sleep

Hey everyone!

I don’t remember the last time I slept through the night. Now this could be because, y’know, I’m not thinking all that clearly right now. Still, I suspect it was…last week? The week before that?

My incredibly patient housemates could probably tell me. They’ve grown accustomed to seeing me emerge from my bedroom around 8pm with a serious case of bed-head and a chipper, “Good morning!”

So why am I not sleeping?

Well…I don’t really know. It’s not like I’ve decided to boycott one of my very favorite things.

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Trust me, I would really like to be able to keep normal people hours. It’s just that every time I close my eyes at night, anxiety washes over me. I start thrashing around in bed, overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, all the goals I haven’t met, all the people I totally meant to email.

After an hour or two of this, I decide I might as well try to get some writing done. Because no matter how crappy my words are at 3am, it has to make me feel better than this. 

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I briefly debate trying to email my fans but realize that I’m not entirely coherent and it’s entirely possible that my grammar will be so bad that all my friends will send this Weird Al song to me!

This song is so great!

So instead of emailing/tweeting my lovely fans, I hide out at Starbucks. I write as my skin grows increasingly clammy and my heart feels like it is pounding in my throat. That’s when I force myself to pack up my things and go home. I’ve covered my window with a thick blanket, but the sun still insists on pestering me.

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At this point, I pretty much pass out. It’s around 9pm when I wake up…just in time to spend another sleepless night attempting to decorate my dresser.

Rinse. Rise. Repeat.

I’m not entirely sure how to break the cycle, although I will be going to a pharmacy today. Sleep aids have always been my very last resort. Unfortunately, I’m there. I walked to Starbucks with two different shoes on my feet. I’m scared that if I try to cook the results will look like this…

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Anyhow, if you are waiting for a response from me, please be patient. It’s not that I don’t care. I just need to get some sleep first!

Awkwardly yours,

Marni

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Writing Process Blog Hop!

Hey everyone!

So the ridiculously awesome Clara Kensie and Stacey Kade invited me to join this writing blog hop! You can read their posts right here (Clara and Stacey) because, well…yeah, I’m not kidding about the awesome.

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This is my expression when I see them at a conference.

Okay, it’s question time!

1. What am I working on right now?

I’m writing the second book in a series that has only just gone on submission. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say about it. So please forgive my vagueness. I can tell you that my heroine Emmy Danvers gets into a boatload of danger that involves contract killers, an elite prep school, and a boy with more than a few secrets of his own. Oh, and I absolutely love writing it! I’ve wanted to write this story for the past four years, so it’s a huge relief to finally put it on the page.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

Oh. I’m not quite sure how to answer this.

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I write humorous contemporary YA. If you’re thinking, “That doesn’t answer the question, Marni. A whole lot of other people write that too,” than I obviously need to distract you. Penguins are adorable. They are the fanciest and I love them.

There is also a penguin named Nils Olav who was knighted in Norway. Making him (by far) the cutest knight in all of history. It’s not even a competition.

Now you know what I bring to the table: penguins and non sequiturs. But mostly penguins.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love it. Pure and simple. I could not talk myself into writing 70,000 words (or more!) on a topic unless I was absolutely, positively, and undeniably hooked! I write the book that I most want to read at that particular moment. I think I continue on through the holy-crap-writing-so-freaking-hard times because I genuinely care about my characters and I can’t leave their stories untold without being plagued by guilt.

That’s also why I feel incredibly lucky that Kensington Teen gave me the opportunity to say goodbye to my Smith High School characters with AWKWARDLY EVER AFTER. It would have been a whole lot harder for me to move on without that closure.

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4. How does my writing process work?

Well, it usually starts out something like this:

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It starts with a question that I find interesting. Like, what would you do if you became an overnight internet sensation? Or what if someone asked you to fake a very public relationship?

Then I write the beginning and I feel great! Everything is new and shiny and sparkly!

Until it’s really not.

That’s when I pull out my journal and start doodling. (Don’t look at the doodles if you can’t handle spoilers!)

Here is what I made for AWKWARDLY EVER AFTER:

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I’ve noticed that often just doodling names or general topics can unlock the next section of plot for me.

Sometimes my doodles involve photos of famous people, like this one for DECKED WITH HOLLY.

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My doodle for my current work in progress looks like this…

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Intentionally blurred because it reveals plot for Book Two. And because it is my Secret Project of Secret.

Creating these doodles has become an integral part of my process, but there really is no magic short-cut to writing a novel. I have to sit down, take a deep breath (and an even bigger sip of coffee), and keep writing until I reach the end. And when I get to the editing stage, I ask my barista for a triple shot. 😉

And yes, I create impossible word count schedules for myself. I bribe myself with the promise of Thai food. Sometimes I take three or four days off and do nothing but listen to audiobooks. If you see me doing book promotion, it’s a fairly safe bet that the words aren’t flowing too smoothly.

The whole process can be maddening at times, but I still wake up every day feeling incredibly grateful that I get to do it!

The blog hop continues with Celeste EastonLydia Kang, and Kim Meyer! So there’s a whole lot more awesomeness to be read!

And on that note…

*slinks back to the writing cave*

Awkwardly yours,

Marni