I’m really good at making other’s people’s ideas better. I’m great at finding THAT THING that stands out and helping someone focus and refine so that the whole piece is even stronger. And I’m fantastic at listening to someone and figuring out what it is that makes them and their take on something unique and strong.
The problem is, I just don’t have that many ideas myself. I’m a great editor, but as a writer, my inspirations are few and far between. Which is a currently an issue as (a) I need to come up with MARKETING IDEAS FOR THE BOOK and (b) I need to get reengaged in PopGurls.
The first is more pressing, as we’re just about a month and a half out from release and I need to let more people know about the book. But what to do? A book signing isn’t really that exciting because it’s *me* — not Joss, and at this point, it seems silly to do a book release party so late in the game. NYCC is coming up in a few weeks and while it seems way too late to plan anything proper, maybe I can come up with something to do then or in conjunction with an existing event? I am donating a couple of books for prizes at the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog SING-ALONG and Joss Whedon-Themed Party.
Oh, how I wish I could call up Leslie Knope and ask her as I’m sure she’ll have ten thousand amazing ideas. But instead, I feel like Leslie in “Camping” — panic-stricken from worry that she won’t be able to come up with something as big and awesome as the Harvest Festival. And I’m far from the Energizer Bunny of anything, aside from marathoning multiple seasons of TV shows in one sitting.
Maybe I should drag a bunch of people somewhere and hope that I can trick them into coming up with ideas for me. I can bake really good cookies (really! i have an excellent chocolate chip recipe), and I won’t even make people sleep on the floor… or the ground.
It’s so strange to have this huge piece of work that defined my life for the past three years finally be out in the world so that OTHER PEOPLE can see it. The reviews are coming in and I feel so lucky that many people are responding positively.
And for the most part, I understand and occasionally agree with the criticisms*. There is a negative one that I reference a lot mostly because it’s from a major outlet and because the reviewer pretty much called me a terrible writer. It came up in my Googling yesterday and I saw the promo copy written for the site (which is much different from than the copy they used on Twitter, which is completely sensationalistic, hyperbolic and completely off the mark), in which they called the book “belligerently upbeat.” I laughed at that, as it’s something I would never call myself or my work — and the first thing I thought was:
"Is ‘belligerently upbeat’ like ‘aggressively short**’?"
"She’s kind of short, don’t you think? Aggressively short, almost. It’s like she’s throwing it in my face."
— “Bowling for Votes”
If so, I’m okay with that. Making this connection has helped me deal with the sadness I had over the review because now I’m in the room with Leslie, watching people through a two-way mirror — people who are far more predisposed to offer criticism than praise. And I’m not looking for blind or gushing praise, nor am I going to invite anyone out to a Dr. Horrible Sing-Along and then punch them when they insult my writing, but I’m going to keep this idea of a focus group in mind while reading reviews.
*I have no problem with criticisms, especially thoughtful ones. I do get frustrated when people make incorrect assumptions about the book (like it was authorized and thus I should have had more stories about X in there) or list out what they wanted in the book and since I didn’t address that to their satisfaction, they declared the book inadequate.
**I, too, am aggressively short and most likely throw it in EVERYONE’S face.
I wrote a book.
I now want to put unicorns in my book. Maybe i’ll buy stickers and add them in. Unicorns go with Joss Whedon, right?
I posted this in October 2011. Today, August 1, 2014, my book officially came out in the US. There’s some minor emotional ramblings in the acknowledgements, but all of my poems and pictures of unicorns were taken out. Kill your darlings, right?
I’m so tired, both mentally and physically. This has been a hard week on top of a rough three years. But I have a real, actual book! In real, actual book stores! And once I go home and sleep for 16 hours, I think I’ll be in a much better place to get excited.
I took a redeye flight back from San Diego Comic Con Sunday night (if you came by the Teen Wolf booth — thank you! I hope you had an awesome time!). When I got home at 7:30am, the house was super hot and muggy and soon after I tried to put the air conditioner on, I learned that we’d lost power… so that was fun. Then today, I could barely get up because everything literally hurt, even if it was questionable if I was dying or not. I went to my chiropractor this afternoon who pretty much confirmed that I am a physical mess and everything really does hurt for so many reasons.
BUT! I, LIKE LESLIE KNOPE IN HER PURSUIT OF COUNCILWOMANSHIP, DO NOT HAVE THE LUXURY OF REST! I HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT ON FRIDAY THAT I MUST PROMOTE! (And I do not have Tom and Jean-Ralphio of Entertainment 720 to work their magic. Although, on second thought, maybe that’s a good thing.)
Would you like to win a copy of said book? Ask me a question on the #JossTalk Twitter Chat on Thursday night!
I’d also like to do something here for all you super awesome people who have been following me and my attempts to stay motivated and accomplished through the guidance of Leslie Knope. Q&A? A giveaway? More deleted scenes that didn’t make it in? Send me a message and let me know what you’d be interested in!
Amy has very kindly provided Whedonesque with five deleted scenes from her soon to be released biography of Joss Whedon.
1. Joss doesn’t drink coffee, he drinks Typhoo tea and is very particular about how it is served: with half and half, and three little, little teaspoons of sugar.
2. Joss was frustrated that people were not responding to Oz at first (“Possibly because he was usurping Xander’s rightful place as Willow’s paramour,” he says.”). He decided to add the scene in which Willow tries to make out with Oz in order to make Xander jealous in “Innocence.” (Oz declines, fully aware of the situation, and describes how he daydreams about her in class: “I’ll think about kissing you and then everything stops. It’s like, freeze frame. Willow kissage.” He wants to wait because “in my fantasy, when I’m kissing you… you’re kissing me.”) “I actually wrote that to make people fall in love with him. Literally [thought that] this scene will take care of the problem,” he explains. “That was the entirely cynical design of that scene.”
3. In the fifth season, the Buffy writers finally found the right story to take advantage of the fact that Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander, had a twin brother. Many ideas were pitched but “we would never just do evil twin, you know?,” Joss says. “I was thinking of Russian absurdist short stories, like Gogol’s ‘The Double’ and ‘The Nose.’ But what I was really trying to evoke was the time in your life when people start treating you like a grown-up and you didn’t realize that you were one. That’s what that was about.”
4. During construction on Joss and Kai’s home, the house was robbed and their computers and Joss’ guitars were taken. The biggest crime story in their Brentwood neighborhood, however, was when Nicole Brown Simpson, football star O.J.’s ex-wife, was killed in June 1994. The area was inundated with press covering the story, and after, Joss was often asked directions to the home by tourists. The media ascended once again in 1998 as the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. The father of the White House intern who had an affair with President Bill Clinton lived a few blocks down and reporters were camped out to get a quote from him about the national drama.
5. Jay Hunter, Much Ado About Nothing cinematographer, says that it’s possible to out-nerd Joss. “We were shooting a night exterior scene on Much Ado, and I was just chatting with AD and the gaffer and someone brought up Lord of the Rings. I started talking about these scenes that weren’t put in the movie and kind of going into this obscene amount of detail of my knowledge of The Lord of the Rings. Meanwhile, he walked out in the middle of it and stumbled on to the nerdiest conversation of all time. He said, ‘Oh, I can’t do this,’ then had to turn around and walk away.”
I interrupt your Leslie Knope Life Coach updates to share this post I wrote for Whedonesque.
All of these Leslies are me. In fact, all of these Leslies have been me for the past two months, maybe longer. I am, as always, terribly behind in everything that I need to do for the book — except now, it’s about promotion and it’s much more urgent as the book is out in one week in the UK and two weeks in the US. And I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con in about five days and should really do my best to connect with as many Joss fans as I can.
I basically have two dueling Leslies on my shoulder — maybe not dueling, more like one is freaking out on a particular theme and the other one keeps yelling at me, reminding me that I’m in this situation due to my own stupidity. Which is true. Mostly true — as some of it is due to stupid decisions that I’ve made and the rest is due to my vicious cycle of exhaustion and anxiety, which leads to no productivity, which leads to more anxiety, which takes such a toll on my body that I can barely do anything aside from lay on the couch and try not to cry.
I’m going to make today’s Leslie Knope Life Coach Lesson be both a matter-of-fact come-to-Jesus (you’re in trouble because of your own stupidity) and a reminder that even the most awesome, productive ladies have breakdowns of different kinds. That doesn’t doesn’t mean we’re all broken permanently or unable to get things done in the long run — just that we have to get through that moment and gently move into a healthier and more productive headspace. We’ll all get there, just like Leslie Knope.
This was waiting on my stoop when I got home.
(It’s the British version of the biography that comes out on July 24.)
It’s so surreal. It’s so real. My mind is still blown. I’ve been rapidly vacillating between these three reactions:
I just. I feel like I just got an A-shaped eclair.
(i’m still in shock)
(and how is it that i can’t find better gifs of this moment?)
I have been doing so many things between the final stages of book writing/editing and the first stages of publicity, in addition to my actual, fulltime job which has been incredibly busy and stressful with a whole bunch of new shows that need their own publicity. I’m tired, burnt out, and, what seems to be the running theme in my life, so so very behind on everything.
A few lovely people have sent me questions/message and I was so excited by them! I will definitely respond to them here this week :)
It’s still surprising to me that other people read this blog, as I literally started it to keep myself motivated when everything felt so overwhelming and too impossible to ever get done. I hope Leslie and I have helped remind some of you that we can all get our own Lot 48s made into a park… eventually.
I posted this before, but it’s very pertinent right now. I’m reviewing and making final edits and then the book goes off to do what books do once the manuscript is set.
I did quite a bit yesterday, but I’ve been powering through since midnight. I wish I knew what it was in my brain that makes the hours between 11:30p-4a so productive. It’s like a switch is flipped and I can focus with such pinpoint precision and I immediately know exactly what is right, what is wrong and what needs to be added.
And now, back to ALL NIGHT WORK! I wish my hair was long enough to put in pigtails (but only to reenact this Leslie gif — I look terrible with long hair), so I’ll just bounce my imaginary ones as I finish before my hard morning deadline. Wish me monsters!