It’s almost time for Writer’s Digest Conference, and oh my GOODNESS am I bursting with excitement! One week from now, I’ll be in New York City for this amazing literary conference that’s put on every year by Writer’s Digest magazine. And it’s going to be so much fun!
It doesn’t matter that this will be my fourth time at WDC. The thrill of learning more about the craft and business of writing, connecting with writers, reuniting with editor colleagues and my fellow staff writers at DIY MFA, and spending a few days in the Big Apple never gets old. (Oh, and N.K. Jemisin, one of my favorite authors, is delivering the opening keynote speech! Yay!) And coming from an introvert, that says a lot.
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Calling all Tolkienites! Pages Unbound is looking for bloggers, readers, and writers who are interested in participating in next year’s Tolkien Reading Event. The 2016 edition in March featured a fantastic mix of Tolkien-related book reviews, discussion posts, and fun quizzes. (Example: I discovered my Hobbit name was Ferdinand Smallburrow of Buckleberry. *lol*) I was also on one several bloggers who was interviewed for their Tolkien Talks series, and I really enjoyed answering Briana and Krysta’s questions and chatting about Tolkien and his stories with their readers.
If you’d like to take part in the 2017 Tolkien Reading Event, follow this reblog to Pages Unbound’s original post and fill out their online form. 🙂
The poll results are in – and the “Interview with Sara” option won by a landslide! So, for this year’s blogoversary, YOU the readers have the chance to grill ME with questions. How does that sound? 😉
Today’s post is a call for questions for the interview, which will post on Saturday, July 9th (the official blogoversary date). You can ask me anything about writing, books and authors I’ve read, tea, music, something else – it’s up to you! But first, in case you need help thinking of questions…
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Recently, Cristina Guarino and I were talking via Twitter and email about whether authors (both published and as-yet unpublished) should refrain from writing negative book reviews. As a writer who hopes to be published one day, Cristina was concerned whether her reviews – even if they were constructive and offered strengths as well as weaknesses – could damage her reputation in the long run. This reblogged post is the result of her musings, and I found it fascinating and well-argued. In fact, it made me think about my own book reviewing “policy.”
When I was a freelance music journalist, I was obligated to be fair yet honest about the music I listened to. I’d talk about what I liked as well as what I thought could use improvement, but never veered into snarky or disrespectful territory. That’s been my approach for book reviews, too. And though I love or like most everything I read, there have been a few negative outliers…
The mentality I’ve had is that over time, if I were to become a published author, I’d keep reviewing books I enjoyed but refrain from reviewing anything less than than a “3 out of 5.” After reading Cristina’s piece, though, I wonder if I should adopt that change now. What do you think? Do you mind occasional negative (yet constructive, not blasting) reviews from “writers in progress” who are also working on their own novels? Or should they be more mindful of how those reviews might reflect upon them? Please don’t hesitate to answer honestly. I’d like to know if there’s something I should do differently, or stop doing altogether, if my current reviewing method might prove harmful later on.
Do you feel from time to time that blogging and social media can be draining? I do – more with social media than with blogging. Some days it tires me out or frustrates me, or I have absolutely no desire to log on. That’s when I know I need to take a break for a day or two (or more). It also explains why one of my least favorite bits of “writer platform” advice is that we should be on as many social media sites as possible (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, etc etc etc.) and constantly participating. How can someone have enough time and energy to do that without cutting into their writing time or (in this case) burning themselves out?
Earlier this week, I discovered this article at Cate Russell-Cole’s blog Octopus Ink. Not only did I relate to and agree with her points, but I also liked the tips she offered on how to deal with social media burn-out and maintaining a healthy online presence without overextending yourself. Some of the comments after the article are wonderfully insightful, too. I hope you’ll enjoy this – and maybe cheer about its message – as much as I did.