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advice and conversations

I was re-reading a few old posts, trying to get an idea for a new one, and was happy all over again to see my husband’s guest post and your excellent responses. And then I thought of the following conversation with him and I smiled. Since you “know” him a little, perhaps you’ll like it too:

Him: “How did the writing go today?”
Me: “It was fine, considering I’m writing the worst book ever.”
Him (thoughtfully): “Statistically, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.”

And then I thought of a conversation I had with my dad back when I was in college. My dad and I talked on the phone a lot then and we talk on the phone a lot now (he lives a few hours away). I was lamenting the fact that I had a lot going on with school and student teaching, etc., etc.

Me (crying): “Dad, I just don’t know if I can do it. There’s so much on my plate.”
Dad (kindly, but firmly): “Well, you have to do it. That is how life is. You have to get the s&*! off your plate now because there’s just going to be more there tomorrow.”

Ah, tough love. Sometimes it is just what I need. As I’ve been working on this book and trying to manage everything, I’ve thought of both of these pieces of advice/conversations often and laughed and kept writing. They’ve helped. A lot.

+ comments (16)
  • Susan Auten
    October 26, 2010

    Your dad sounds just like my grandpa. Shocking but real. Your husband’s right. Your book couldn’t be the worst ever. I won that award with my first novel. That would be why it’s still sitting on my hard drive five years later.

  • Valerie Haight
    October 26, 2010

    I agree wholeheartedly!!! They are both correct. The book is GREAT and I know that without having read it because of all the “buzz”. You can’t log into ANYTHING literary without hearing about MATCHED. It’s going to be wonderful and I can’t wait!!!

    We must keep going and I think we all know this deep down, it’s just so very hard to keep on keepin’ on. But it will be SOOOOOO worth it in the end!! Best of luck to you, Ally. You deserve it!

  • Emy Shin (Sandy)
    October 26, 2010

    Those advice are such great ones! Tough, but very practical. :]

  • Shari
    October 26, 2010

    Awesome post! Always helpful to have a few realists around when you’re in doubt!

  • Julie
    October 26, 2010

    It’s got to be hard to write under the kind of pressure I imagine you’re experiencing. To have so much “buzz” about a book before it’s even out…and to write the sequel to it amid all of the touring, promoting, and other non-writing part of the biz sounds pretty intense.

    But I think your men’s advice is so helpful. It makes me think of another well-known bit of advice: “forget yourself and go to work.” You know, that’s all anyone can expect of us, and I think with as hard as you work, and as much as you care about your writing, you’re going to be successful.

    I don’t envy you your pressures, but I do believe in you and your ability to live up to your great potential. Keep climbing those mountains, Ally, and you’ll make it to the top.

  • L.T. Elliot
    October 26, 2010

    I’ve found that honesty is one of the most highly prized traits in a friend, for me. What a great husband and a great dad. =D

  • becca
    October 26, 2010

    You know my Kid 2? Her favorite movie is Napoleon Dynamite. You know her favorite lines?
    “This is like the worst movie ever made.”
    “Like anyone could even know that, Napoleon.”

    Your husband’s wisdom is similar, if slightly less geeky.

  • Shallee McArthur
    October 26, 2010

    Your husband’s response sounds a lot like what my husband would say! In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s said something similar before…

  • M.J. Horton
    October 26, 2010

    Your dad is amazing.


  • BeckyWren
    October 26, 2010

    I especially love your Dad’s advice! It’s just so true.

  • Amie Kaufman
    October 27, 2010

    You have smart people around you. A friend I miss a lot always used to say to me ‘you should surround yourself with smart people, just in case it turns out you’re not’.

    Also, your husband’s response gave me the giggles, which is usually exactly what I need when I’m in World Novel Ever mode.

  • Jake Corry
    October 27, 2010

    That’s funny. I had a similar conversation with my dad a few years ago, and as you can imagine, his response was very similar.

  • Libby
    October 27, 2010

    I love Judge Bob. He is full of many one liners I will always remember.

  • Jessica
    October 30, 2010

    Sometimes dads know what they need to say just when they need to say it. Your dad sounds very wise.
    Anyway, it was great meeting you today at the library! I loved hearing your insights at the panel, and I look forward to (FINALLY) reading MATCHED!
    Put it on Paper

  • D. Watson
    November 1, 2010

    I wonder if you would like to mention to your avid aspiring writer readers a youth writing contest being put on by the International Food Policy Research Institute:


    Young people between the ages of 14 and 18 are invited to participate by submitting an essay, short story, poem, open letter to a national leader, short play, or other text on the question, How can we use agriculture to produce more food, generate food of better quality, and improve people’s nutrition and health? Entries must be in English and no longer than 2,000 words. Submission deadline is December 13, 2010.

    First prize in the contest is US$500, plus 25 copies of the booklet in which the winning essay will be published along with selected other contributions. Runners up will receive US$250 and 10 copies of the booklet.

    For more information on the contest, including rules and how to enter, please visit

  • Anna
    March 5, 2012

    Thank you so much for the advice!
    It really helped me with my story!

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