Doing What You Love: Practical inspiration for writers

doingwhatyoulovecover-medium Doing What You Love: Practical Strategies for Living a Creative Life is now out in paperback! This chapbook draws on my quarter-century of writing experience to share insights and inspiration previously only available by attending one of my talks or, more recently, downloading an ebook.

It makes a great gift for any writer in your life who could use a bit of a pep talk. (Including you!)

['Taking risks, rather than being an impractical and foolhardy act, might be  one of the most practical and business-savvy things we can do.']

Available wherever books are sold:
Amazon (bundle with the ebook for 99 cents more)
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Or visit your favorite local bookstore and ask them to order you a copy!

TusCon Science Fiction Convention

And here’s my schedule for TusCon 44 this weekend.

Friday, November 10

7 pm: Meet the Guests
Ballroom

Saturday, November 11

9 am: Best SF/Fantasy for Preschoolers
Panel Room 2
with Janni Lee Simner, Larry Hammer, and Mira Domsky

4 pm: Autograph Session
Canyon Theater Foyer
with William Herr, Mary Fan, Eric Schumacher, Geoff Notkin, and Janni Lee Simner

Sunday, November 12

9 am: The Importance of Knowing What Your Story Is
Ballroom
with Kathryn Lance, Eric T Knight, Gloria McMillan, D.S. Harders, and Janni Lee Simner

2 pm: Finish it!!! How to Know When Your Work Is Done
Panel Room 1
with Linda Addison, Jim Doty, Janni Lee Simner, Catherine Wells, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Marsheila Rockwell, and Paul E. Clinco

Tucson Comicon

I’ll be a panelist at Tucson Comicon, down at the Tucson Convention Center, this weekend! Here’s my panel schedule:

Saturday, November 4, 10 a.m.
Science Fiction and the Nourishment of Hope
with Kathryn Lance (moderator), Ed Hoornaert, Janni Lee Simner, and Catherine Wells
Mohave/Maricopa Room

Sunday, November 5, 1 p.m.
Epic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Worlds
with Natalie Wright (moderator), KJ Kabza, Kathryn Lance, and Janni Lee Simner
Mohave/Maricopa Room

Sunday, November 5, 2:30 p.m.
The Basics of Storytelling
with KJ Kabza (moderator), Monica Friedman, Kathryn Lance, and Janni Lee Simner
Greenlee Room

I’ll also be (of course!) at TusCon 44 November 10-12. I’ll post my schedule there next week, or you can check it out here.

Writing Survivors: A New Series

If you enjoyed the Writing for the Long Haul series, head over and check out Cynthia Leitich Smith’s new Survivors series, where well-established writers talk about career endurance as a writer for children and young adults.

When I started out, publishers seemed reluctant to take chances on new voices. And in the pre-Potter industry, there wasn’t the widespread idea that writing for young readers was a viable and attainable career path (or at least one with the potential to generate a livable income).

Consequently, fewer younger people were pursuing it.

As a GenXer, I also entered the field as a shockingly young writer by the standards of the day.

I knew only a couple of published authors (and only online) who were around my age. The overwhelming majority were at least fifteen years older.

Most were a full generation older.

Now, the pendulum has swung hard the other way.

Read more here.

Doing What You Love: An Ebook

I’m thrilled to announce the release of the second book in my Writing Life series, Doing What You Love. Based on one of my most popular talks, this inspiring ebook takes a look at the things I’ve learned through the years about living a creative life. While the focus is writing, it also applies to other creative fields. Here are the details!


Write More and Worry Less

Write more and worry less! Move your writing and your passion from the edges to the center of your life as you discover:

• Why writing isn’t all about “talent”

• The value of taking creative risks

• How to embrace imperfection

• Ways to manage doubts and put setbacks in perspective

• Reasons to let your fear—and your joy—take the lead

• The myth of that one big break

• How to choose which advice to listen to—and which to discard

• The power of writing without apologies

• Why following your creative passion may be the most practical thing you can do

Acclaimed author Janni Lee Simner has spent the past quarter century writing books, short stories, interactive fiction, and nonfiction for teens, children, and adults. In Doing What You Love she shares down-to-earth strategies for how to get started—and how to keep going—living a creative life.

Doing What You Love is available wherever ebooks are sold! Order your copy now from:

Kobo and their independent bookstore partners
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Apple
Smashwords


New to the Writing Life Series? Order Doing What You Love and Finding Your Sense of Place together and I’ll send you a free e-copy of my creepy short story “Drawing the Moon!” Just forward a screenshot or copy of your receipt to janni@simner.com before the end of July.

A Creative Conversation about Career Cycles

I had an amazing Creative Conversation with Janet Lee Carey about Career Cycles this week, where we talked about many of the things we often hesitate to discuss as writers:

At some point, it also hit me that there were no guarantees as a writer and that success wasn’t as simple as just being intense enough or doing any other one right thing. Anything I wrote could ultimately sell or not sell, find its audience or not find it. I had less control than I’d thought—and that was oddly freeing. If there were no guarantees anyway, I realized I might as well just write what I loved.

And:

Support, just knowing we’re not alone with the ups and downs, that we’re not the only ones to invent and reinvent ourselves, is huge. We’re so afraid of admitting to struggles, of being seen as less than perfect. Again, it’s like if others detect weakness, they’ll realize we don’t belong, and somehow magically kick us out of this writing world. But no one can make us stop writing, and no one person controls the whole writing-verse anyway. It doesn’t work that way.

There’s a lot more–check out the conversation here! (And, along the way, enter to win a copy of the Bones of Faerie trilogy.)


Want to talk about writing in person? I’ll be at the Pima County Public Library’s Megamania event Saturday, July 9.

Kidlit for Kidlits panel
With Aprilynne Pike, Adam Rex, and Janni Lee Simner

When: Saturday, July 9, 3:45-4:45 p.m.
Where: Pima Community College Downtown Campus,
1255 North Stone Avenue
Tucson, Arizona

Megamania is essentially a mini-comicon run by the library. The full event runs from 1-6 p.m. and is completely free

Catch me at the Tucson Eastside Barnes and Noble Saturday, plus Library and Huntsman game news

Hope you’re all having a good summer!

I finished my residency at the Pima County Public Library at the end of May. Before leaving entirely, I blogged about my time there: Libraries remain a place of refuge.

Some writers came to me nervous about sharing their work and writing hopes. Others brimmed over with enthusiasm and the desire to discuss their projects. But every writer who came to me felt they had something precious inside them that they wanted to share …

If you missed me at the library, this Saturday (June 11) I’ll be at the B-Fest Teen Book Festival at Tucson’s eastside Barnes and Noble. Catch me there for a signing at 4:30 and a panel discussion on getting your book published at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, the final two chapters of The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse are out, and the game has been getting good reviews. Here’s an article about the game in the Arizona Daily Star: ‘Huntsman’ tie-in a hit for Tucson game studio.

“I enjoyed how we were all working at the same time. I’d be there writing the story as the art is being created and the game design is being worked on and the programing is happening, and all those pieces would influence each other,” she [Simner] said.

Until next time, stay cool, keep writing, keep reading, and keep dreaming!

You don’t have to

You don’t have to write fast
You don’t have to write slow
You don’t have to go in with a plan
You don’t have to outline
You don’t have to wait
     for the story to say where it wants to go

You don’t have to write what they tell you to write
You don’t have to learn all the rules
You don’t have to be commercial
You don’t have to be literary
You don’t have to get five star reviews

You don’t need a platform
You don’t need a brand
You don’t need a social media presence
You don’t need to be silent
     or keep your opinions to yourself

You don’t have to be like everyone else
You don’t have to be like that bestselling, award-winning author you admire
You don’t have to write short
You don’t have to write long
You don’t have to write blog posts
     that claim to claim to have all the answers

You don’t have to be perfect
You don’t have to do all the things
You don’t have to do any one thing

You just have to tell your stories
     your stories
     your stories
The ones no else can
The way no one else can
That’s all
That’s all
That’s all

Two Free Things–a Game and a Workshop

The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse

The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse is now available on PC and Mac–and the first chapter is free! I worked as scriptwriter on this game with Desert Owl Games. Download your copy of Book 1 here and give it a try.

The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse is set in the universe of NBCUniversal’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War, which hit theaters this week.


Finding Your Sense of Place–Bringing Your Characters to Life

When: Saturday, May 14, 1-3 p.m.
Where: Children’s Meeting Room, Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Tucson
(Although this workshop meets in the children’s room, it is aimed at adults and teens.)

Use setting and description to bring your characters to life and increase the emotional impact of your stories! Setting is about much more than providing a few scene-setting details and moving on. Discover why the descriptions that seem to get in the way of your stories are actually the most powerful tools you have to bring characters to life and make readers care about their stories.

This workshop is available free for the first time thanks to the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records’ Writer-in-Residence program and the Pima County Public Library.