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The Did Do List: Taking a look back

I love my jobs--all of them. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to teach, and--hello!--being a writer?! That's living out my childhood dream. 

But lately, I've been stressed out. I'm on deadline, the day job work is piling up, one kid has been sick, the other one teething. That combo isn't good. Times like this, writing feels selfish. There are just so many other pieces of life that need my attention. Plus, drafting a book is always the worst part of the process for me. It's difficult and painful and a bit like groping in a dark room for a light switch (only I'm searching for plot). I'm also trying something new with this one: writing from a boy's POV. That creates added doubt--is the voice right? Is it exciting enough? Will readers think I'm a fraud?--and pressure. I start worrying that I'm not good enough, that I haven't made the right choices. Then I go into a bookstore or library and see a squillion books on the shelves and despair that anyone will ever find mine--especially if they're shelved wrong. Everything piles together creating a multi-layer Cake of Doom and I go back to contemplating dental school. Existential crises ensues. Ugh.

So, a few weeks ago, while I still had (some) of my wits about me, I took a break from making to do lists and made a Did Do list. I spent a few minutes jotting down the great things that I've had the chance to do since I started writing, the goals I've met, the people I've learned from, and the bright moments for my books. The result surprised me. It showed me that the work has paid off and that the stress and the doubt and the worry will go away, hopefully to be replaced by something wonderfully unknowable at this point. 

I'm guilty of being a "what's next" type of person. I finish a project, am satisfied for about eleven seconds, and then I move on to the next thing. My Did Do list serves as a gentle reminder to take a little more time and value not only what I put into my past, but to trust that the work I'm doing now will make for a good future. It reminds me to breathe. It reminds me that, yes, even in the midst of a squillion books, and on the wrong shelf, a hand might pick up my story. Amazing.

Do it. Your Did Do list has more on it than you think. 

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• MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING (Dial 2013) was highlighted in the Atlantic Wire's Summer Reading Roundup!

• TOTAL TRAGEDY was named to the master list of Massachusetts Children's Book Awards 2013-2014

• New book alert! MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING will be in stores July 11 2013

• NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK is out in paperback! And it's on the Texas Lone Star List!

• TOTAL TRAGEDY has been named to the Texas Lone Star list as well as Kansas' KNEA Reading Circle catalog (with a starred recommendation)

• TOTAL TRAGEDY is out in paperback! Ask for it at a bookstore near you.

• TOTAL TRAGEDY has gone into its third printing! Thanks to everyone who bought it!

• MODELS has gone into its fifth printing! Thank you!!

• Have you seen the TT trailer? Go here & check it out:

• Disney's Family Fun Magazine and Girl's Life mag both loved TT! Check out the reviews in their February issues!

• I've signed stock recently at the following stores:
- Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA

• Booklist says, "Some sisterly bonding, the sweet flutterings of a first romance, and a creatively contrived comeuppance for the mean girls make [TOTAL TRAGEDY] a cheerful read for younger middle-schoolers."