Why Authors Need Friends by Alyssa Alexander

Alyssa Alexander here! I was wracking my brain for an interesting post and couldn’t come up with anything. So I procrastinated by eating pistachios and making coffee. Then I procrastinated again by eating salad with leftover taco meat on it. Then I procrastinated more by telling myself I really needed to eat the cheese stick in my fridge.

When my tummy became too full, I procrastinated by doing something truly fun: Critiquing. I have the absolute pleasure of being critique partners with Kimberly Kincaid, whom I love, adore, worship and envy. (Envy, because she writes twice as fast and twice as polished as I do.)

Not every author writes with critique partners, as we all have different methods of getting ideas out on paper and editing the words. But when critiquing works, it can work miracles.

It’s also good for procrastination.

Just yesterday, during my epic procrastination stint, I hit on a little something in one of Kimberly’s scenes that was bugging both of us. Neither could put our finger on it, though. I read it through for the third time yesterday and figured out what was off. All she did was tweak a few things, delete 350 words (ouch!), and then I received a deluge of emails and texts full of love. Also, she may have said, “I cannot believe I didn’t see that? I feel like an idiot.” To which I responded: “Forest. Trees. And I didn’t see it either until this time around!!!”

This is why authors need friends. All those trees on the page—in the case of a full length romance, about 90,000 trees on the page—and sometimes we lose sight of the forest. All we need is another set of eyes to observe the forest in its entirety. (And now I’m done with metaphors or similes or whatever that was.)

Now, Kimberly lives in the DC area-ish. I live smack in the middle of the Mitten State. I have never been to her house, nor has she been to mine. (Which is good, actually, because she’d be lucky to find my floors between the laundry baskets and Legos!) I typically get to see Kim about once a year at the National RWA® conference. This year the conference is July 13-16 in San Diego—and it will be the first time in 6 years I haven’t attended.

[Imagine a very sad face here. 🙁 But I went to Europe in April and can’t manage two such trips in a year.]

Which means I won’t get to see Kim, nor will I get to cheer for her book, FIRE ME UP, which was nominated for a RITA Award (that’s the Oscars of the Romance World). I won’t get to hold her hand as they announce the winner on Saturday, July 16. I won’t get to dress up in my fancy gown and wear toe-pinching stilettos and have champagne and wish her luck.

I will get to cheer her on (and another critique partner up for a RITA, Tracy Brogan) as I watch it live, streaming over the internet from my living room.

Probably while wearing jammies and procrastinating on folding laundry.

And, just because I miss her terribly, I’m giving away a copy of FIRE ME UP, ebook or print! Open to International and US (because I don’t mind shipping Adrian, the hero, to anyone. He is SO HOT and my favorite of all of Kimberly’s heroes). 18 years or older. Winner to be chosen by random . org.

Just comment below and tell me what you do to procrastinate! Hopefully it doesn’t involve pistachios. Or cheese sticks.

Though, if Adrian hits your doorstep, you may feel free to procrastinate with him. I might have mentioned…Ahem. SO HOT.

Follow Alyssa Alexander:

Despite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn’t mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes. Alyssa’s debut release, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, was awarded 4.5 Stars and Top Pick, nominated for 2014 Best First Historical by the Romantic Times and Best First Book in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest. Her second book, IN BED WITH A SPY, released in December 2014 from Berkley, and received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic times. She has been called a “talented newcomer” and “a rising star you won’t want to miss.” You can find Alyssa at all the usual places! Please stop by and say hello! And you can always reach her by email at alyssa@alyssa-alexander.com.

15 Responses

  1. I also scrounge for food when I procrastinate, Alyssa! I’m right there with you about CPs. Sometimes I don’t always like what they have to say, but they usually nail the problem on the head. Once I’ve done a rewrite, I see just how right they were!

  2. So true re the forests, trees, etc. Sometimes just talking the story out with someone will do it. Happened just yesterday — I was saying to my editor, ‘please look at these three issues in particular’ — and by the time I’d explained issue # 3, I had an idea of how to fix it. :~))

    • You’re so right! Just the act of talking about it can get your brain moving. Sometimes writing by hand will do that for me too!

  3. Glenda

    Lots of times I play on the Internet reading blog posts while I’m procrastinating. 😉 I also read ‘just one more chapter’ . . . .

  4. LOL The Legend of Procrastinations. I’m a master at procrastination because I for some odd reason do much better under stress and pressure. I don’t know why I put myself in that position but last minute/ day before a huge project is due is when I do my best work. Absolutely not a good thing for writing sometimes, but as an artist, it could work. 😉

    What I do is try to get out of the house by shopping or persuading my sister’s to go shop and I’ll just tag along, which I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. Otherwise I find a show/series to binge on, which I did three weeks ago.

    But I absolutely adore Kim and Tracy! I get to see them once a year in April.

    • So, I’m half jealous you get to see Kim and Tracy, and half jealous they get to see YOU! Also, I get that whole thing about pressure and time. I might until 8p to 5p to get a project done, but I do the best work from 3p-5p!

    • Ki, you’re the winner! If you don’t already have a copy, let me know and I will get it out to you ASAP! Congratulations!!

      • Awww Thanks Alyssa. I don’t have this one yet so this is awesome. Which email should I contact?

    • Just shoot me an email at alyssa @ alyssa-alexander.com!

  5. Procrastination – what a big word! I find I read when I want to procrastinate. Or pet the dog. Either one I feel like needs done more than house work or going shopping.

    • LOL! Everything needs to be done more than housework! 🙂 Also, reading is not procrastinating. It’s food for the mind and the soul. You’re totally good there.