Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spinning (and Writing) in the Right Direction

My lives seem to converge when I am on the bike in a spin class. Lives? Yes - my creative/spiritual and my grounded/family/work lives. I like to think that I am spinning in the right direction.

"But you're not going anywhere!" You exclaim.

Exactly. I am rooted to the present, and yet I am taking care of mind, body AND spirit. I had thought that I could only get that in a yoga class, but I was wrong.

I discovered the SPIN in a last ditch attempt to add cardio to my routine. Being a yoga aficionado, I had hated everything else I tried. I shocked myself by falling in-love. I love that the music is LOUD and that it is dark with no mirrors, that you can get into the ZONE. In fact, the experience is kind of like a part of my nightclub days, when I would just dance and be in my own little world. (Léna Land as my friends liked to call it.) I love the blood, sweat and tears.

So of course I've been thinking a lot about spinning a a metaphor for writing.

It's been helping me think about writing as a process and not a destination - and yes, you're right - in a spin class we don't really literally go anywhere. But we follow through until the end, strengthening out heart muscles and our legs, sweating the built up toxins out of our pores. As a byproduct, we feel more awake, alert, ALIVE during the day.

It's like that with writing - it makes me feel alive as it clears my head. There are toxins in my spirit as well that I exOrcise through writing: the world can be a troubling place, full of suffering and inequality. I am drawn to people AND characters who have had enough darkness and who struggle in their search for the light.

And writing grounds me in the present, even as I move from room to room, coffee shop to coffee shop in search for a fresh perspective. Right now I am working on a new "thing", and I have stopped thinking about any kind of audience so that I can find the story, so that I can spin my yarn. I have a setting, and the shadows of some characters. A plot is slowly revealing itself to me. Our new slogan at Writopia Lab is: Plot builds character.

I know that the events and actions I have taken in my own life have built my own character, so I  keep writing, and I urge you to do the same, and to eschew compartmentalization by merging your writing life with your other daily activities.

We are writers everywhere, even in a spin class!

Yes, we are all spinning in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Kind of Author are You?

Many of us grapple with our identities as artists and I am no different. We are all trying to find our way and see where we fit, where we will be able to make or leave an impression, where our interpretations of our environment, world, relationships, heart and minds will make a difference.

So, we label ourselves, thinking that this is the way to find a niche.

This isn't the way for me. Or it was, and now it's not.

YA author.

How wonderful to write my first novel without an audience in mind, just focusing on the characters and letting them develop the way they want to. The characters who happen to be teens.

Then came the querying and I eventually found my way to an agent who represents children and YA books. Score!

Then I landed a contract at FSG Books for Young Readers. Double score!

YA author.

And then came my need to twist myself up in a pretzel to fit that label. Social media and marketing: Who am I? YA author.

And I may be just that.


I started writing with the goal to sell to a YA market. Edges was a "quiet" book, so I needed to write a teen book with more commercial appeal. Didn't I?

Three more novels, but no contracts yet.

Who is the one really pulling my strings?


I don't have to pigeon-hole myself as an artist, and neither do you. I am more.

I write stories, and that is that.

What kind of author are you?