Tag Archives: Mette Ivie Harrison

I have about an hour

to write

and then I shall get my mom up and get the day going for her

plus, there are so many chores to be done

 

But for now

 

writing.

 

I have a friend who’s getting ready to quit her job and just write full time. She’s a serious girl when it comes to her writing. She’s smart and good at what she does. She’ll be a success, I think. Finally doing something she loves.

For years now I should have been writing full time. I’ve always let my worries get in the way. My fears. The housework.

And of course I still have family at home and that has always taken precedence.

 

If you could write full time, how would you arrange your day?

What would you do differently?

It’s time for me to think, to plan, this for myself.

 

Perhaps I need to think not in hours, but in words.

 

I know a writer who locked her kids away from her as she worked. Left older siblings with screaming babies, so she could write.

I know of women who have chosen careers over children.

To each his own. We each have our own set of rules–what we will allow, what we can tolerate. (Mette Ivie Harrison has spoken about boundaries. I like what she’s said.)

 

At this point in my kids’ lives, I’m not ready to lock them out. I want my older girls to always be able to find me. My youngest to be able to walk in when she needs me. Me to go looking for them and find them. I need hugs too, ya know.

 

Anyway, I’m thinking a lot about how I want to fashion myself as a writer. I figure I have two years before I need to really be able to stand on my own, with no support from anything else.

 

Speaking of children, I know someone who’s raised a possible serial rapist or serial killer. Kid’s missing a conscience, maybe?(No. I’m not joking.) Maybe I’ll write about THAT this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

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Being Accountable: Mette Ivie Harrison

How did you do this week? Did you reach those goals? Write as you should? Stretch?

What better writer to interview on our Day of Accountability than Mette Ivie Harrison (many of you know her) about working hard. Some cool stuff is going on in her writing life.
Let’s see what it is.

I’ve watched you ‘grow up’ in the publishing world, Mette, from when you were taking those first steps in writing until now. Will you briefly tell us your journey? What has been the most exciting part of your career? The most devastating part?

The most exciting part was probably when I sold the trilogy starting with Two Princesses to Harper for a lot of money. I felt on top of the world, like I was really starting the best-selling author career I’d always wanted.
And then, two years later, the whole deal was canceled. That was devastating. I loved that series and I thought Harper loved me. I’m still recovering from that blow.

We all kind of have ideas about what publishing will bring. I always thought if I published a book I’d be famous and get rich. What did you think this world would be like and how is it different?

I did imagine that I would be rich and famous, if only I worked hard enough. But after fifteen years of working harder than any author I know, I’m still kind of a lower end midlist author. And the funny thing is, I’ve come to terms with that. I wouldn’t mind money, I don’t think, but I’ve seen a lot of effects of fame that I don’t envy in other authors. And I don’t really care to write books to other people’s specifications, either editors, publishing houses, or even readers. I want to write books that I care about and I have the luxury these days of doing that, since my husband is now earning an income that easily takes care of our family.

Will you tell us about this adult series you have that’s coming out?

Earlier this year,  I sold to Soho Press The Bishop’s Wife and a second book in the same series, about a Mormon Bishop’s wife who solves crime. It’s not what she sets out to do, but she is drawn into it because of her place in the community. And she isn’t a strictly orthodox Mormon, either. Make whatever conclusions based on that you’d like. She’s spent time as an atheist and she sees Mormons almost as an outsider would. She also argues with her husband plenty about the place of women in the church, and that is part of this mystery that is partly based on the Josh Howell case that was so prominent in the headlines in Utah a few years ago.

When we were chatting back and forth, you mentioned that you’re ‘doing a lot of different stuff.’ Can you tell us a little about some of that?

Oh, wow. Tons of things. I have a series of books I am looking for a publisher for I think of as re-romances or as marriage romances, about married couples who have fallen out of love and find their way back to each other. I also have a bunch of non-fiction books with Familius, from living on food storage to doing neighborhood plays and how to manage a homemade Christmas. And I still have plenty of YA and MG fantasies I am working on, including one about a girl who discovers she is the only chance for magic since the last fairy godmother in the world has chosen her as an apprentice, and one about a girl who has grown up with the ability to time travel then gets involved with a Committee of adults who want to use her power for their own purposes, and a dark YA about a girl who accidentally kills people by taking life magic from them, and a couple of retellings, one of The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde and another of Cinderella which you saw long ago.

If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?

Oh, gosh. Mostly I would change me. I really struggle with the social aspects of this job. I don’t manage publicity well and I struggle with the taxing time away from family that appearances take. I really love teaching, though. I think I’d like to do more of that.

 One of my favorite books of yours is THE MONSTER IN ME. I love that novel. Do you have more contemporary stuff coming out for mid grade readers or teens?

I have a book called EVOL that my agent hasn’t seen yet, though it’s almost ready to show him. It’s about four teens, two couples, who are just the best of friends and also deeply in love in high school in Cambridge, MA. But when one of the couples falls in love with the opposite member of the other, there are a lot of problems in store.

How do you work your life out so the important parts are successful? I mean, I know you are publishing, raising good children, staying married, and racing. How do you it all?

No one can do it all. I just give up a lot of stuff that other people don’t do, like cleaning my house and watching television except when I’m exercising. I also don’t spend much time on the phone or enjoying chit-chat. I don’t volunteer at my kids’ schools, either. I’m a little embarrassed about that, but I don’t have time right now. Other than that, I tend to keep a really strict schedule and I don’t cheat on it. When I sit down to write, I write. No excuses.

What is your best writing advice?

Don’t let yourself blame other people for not getting it done or not prioritizing it. When other people don’t care about your writing, it’s because you aren’t prioritizing it enough yourself.

What is your best mom advice?
Well, besides making sure your kids have food, shelter, and don’t get hit, I think you just fill them up with love. That gives them all the energy they need to follow their dreams. And you just listen and let them lead you on the adventure of a lifetime. I think teens are wonderful! I love mine to death.

What is your best wife advice?

Really try to see things from the perspective of your spouse. Other people are different from you are. This does not mean they are wrong.

What is your best racing advice?

Train hard, race easy. By this I mean, let your anxieties go as much as possible and try to have fun at a race. If you’re not having fun, you may be pacing yourself wrong. All the work should happen before you hit the finish line. And trust yourself that if you’ve done it, you will do well.

Wow!

I need a nap after that interview!

 

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Day of Accountability

Questions to answer:

 

1. Do you give yourself a goal at the beginning of each week?

Each Sunday night I write out the goals I want to accomplish for the week. I need a guide. A map. My goals help me know the direction to go.

2. How do you try to reach your goal?

It’s easy to let writing time slip away, to let other more ‘important’ things get in the way. So decide how you will accomplish your goals. If I know I have big stuff ahead, I break the ‘stuff’ into smaller, bite-sized pieces. I write how I will do what needs to be done.

3. Is the goal attainable or impossible to reach?

You may want Simon and Schuster to buy your book but you can’t control that. You can, however, make your goal to submit to S&S. See the difference? My dear friend, Rick Walton, taught me this. Never give yourself a goal you can’t control. You can control how much you write, if you write, how you rewrite etc. But you can’t control the publishers. Otherwise I would have far bigger advances.

4. Are you giving yourself enough time to accomplish the goals?

Be fair to yourself as a writer. So here’s the deal with me. I always overbook myself in the goal area. That’s okay for me. I like a lot of goals and I like pushing myself hard. And I don’t mind if I fall short. That said, the important goals are always given priority.

5. Are you treating your writing like a job and not like a hobby?

I’m still not writing like a professional. I am not like Dean Hughes  who writes eight plus hours a day no matter what or like Stephen King who writes until he reaches his page number goal. I let my laziness get in the way.  And when stress gets heavier in my life, I let the writing be set aside as I try to put out flames. If I were a dentist would I skip drilling teeth? No. We are like Independent Study students. There is no one to direct us but ourselves. And we have to see our work as a job–IF that’s what we want. Is your writing a part-part time job? Part time? Full time? You decide and then give yourself permission to treat it as such.

6. Do you still let the little ‘things’ come between you and your writing?

This is so easy to do. Again, if you were drilling teeth and your kid called you at work because her sister was a bother,  would you call back?

The truth is, writing is hard. And many times writers welcome an interruption because  . . . writing is hard.

Mette Ivie Harrison is very good at drawing lines in the sand about her work. Check her out on her blog. (http://metteharrison.livejournal.com/) She’ll be at WIFYR (www.wifyr.com) this year, teaching the Full Novel Class.

7. Do you know when the best time of day for you to write? Or where the best place for you to write is?

Sometimes, when you have a big deadline, you have to work all day and late into the night to reach the goals your editor has set for you. But on a normal day when is your best time? When are you most creative? When do you get the most done? When can you tune out the rest of life and really concentrate? Find this time, know it and use it. I don’t write well at night. I’m too tried. And so when I spend time trying to create in the late evenings I find that I write slower, not as many words, not as many good words.

Experiment. Find your best time and let people know this is when you sit down to work.

For me, that’s when people are in bed in the mornings. My mom. My girls. Even the dog. They are all sleeping. That’s when I write.

 

OTHER THINGS

I’m still working to find a house

And I for sure am NOT getting my dream home  (thanks for all your good thoughts and well-wishes yesterday).

I’ve sort of run into this scary place where I don’t know what to do at all. Not at all. I have a lump in my throat always.

Many of you may know I am a believer in God, but lately I have felt truly abandoned. It’s a hard place to be but a place I think most people wind up every once in a while. I  must have more to learn than others because I have been in this place a lot lately.

My writing has failed as I have used excuse after excuse to not sit down and write because I’m scared.

And the fear is big enough to have immobilized me.

I’m really, really tired.

 

But, this week Cheri and I met with our Familius editor. We were called to order a couple of times. Me and Cheri. Geez gives us a camera and a mic and we are two funny people. Or two people who think they are funny.

I have one chapter half written.

I’ll write the rest this morning.

And I will do a Skype visit with a school on the east coast.

Because writing is my job.

And I have people to take care of. To support.

 

The truth is–I love to write. Even when I really hate it.

 

This is something I have allowed myself recently. It’s important.

Some days are just too hard to accomplish anything because my fear of the unknown. Will I find a home?

So when I feel the burden, I tell myself, “Just one step. Take just one step.”

When things are harder than normal I  allow myself to wait until tomorrow.

 

ABOUT YOU

So, then, how did the week go for YOU? Tell all.

Did you get everything you planned  done?

I hope so.

 

Tomorrow will be better, right?

I mean, write?

Yes!

 

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