I want to be a writer, but . . . .

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1. I don’t have time.
2. I’ll never be good enough.
3. I don’t know how to start writing my book.

The time has come for me to break the web of silence and give you the secret and arcane knowledge that you must possess to become a writer. I warn you that it may make your eyes bleed and your stomach ache. But it’s a small price for becoming a writer. Right?
1. I don’t have time. I’m going to wait until I graduate from school, until after I get a job, until my vacation, until after my wedding, until after the baby is potty trained, until the kids are in school, until I retire . . . . .

Okay, you get it. Big events fill up our lives. Day to day grinds take our every minute. We get home from work or school exhausted. The kids NEVER go to bed at a decent hour. By the time the house is quiet, all I want to do is turn off my brain and zone out with a TV series or Bejeweled.

Sorry. That is not on your ‘be a writer’ agenda. The truth is, you will never have more free time than you do right now. Your life will always fill up with stuff you need to do. Even after you are successful and no longer have a day job, you will still need to get the car serviced, pull the weeds, pick up your friend at the airport, call the plumber and mop the floor, oh, and since you ‘don’t work’, can you watch your friend’s kids this afternoon? Life does not stop so that you can write a book.

So here is what you do. Get a notebook. electronic or paper, I don’t care. Paper ones never need batteries, and tend to fit better in you backpack, diaper bag or purse. I like paper. Then write. Write on the bus to work. Write while waiting for the dentist. Write between classes. Write on your lunch hour. Write during the kids’ soccer practice. In the evening, leave the room where the television is and write. It can be done. In fractions of hours, throughout the day, you can amass words like a squirrel storing nuts. At the end of the day, sit down at a keyboard, and put those words into a document. (They will magically grow as you do so, for you will realize you need to tell what sort of a tree it was, or describe exactly how her lip curls.)

Once you start doing this, you will find your writing time. It’s there, in your life. You just need to find it. (Hint. Your writing time is not on Facebook or Twitter. Do not look for it there.)

2. I’ll never be good enough.
Good enough for what? Can you talk? Do you tell your friends, spouse or kids what you did today? Then you are telling a story. Use your own voice and write words down. Mickey Spillane did not write like Professor Tolkien or e e cummings or Lois McMaster Bujold does. But I think we can all agree that they are extremely readable and enjoyable. So stop holding on to that self fulfilling prophecy and write. Spellcheck will nag you to fix your spelling while grammar checks will show you new and interesting ways to be wrong. Just tell the story. Get it nailed to the page. Re-writing is where you go back and make it pretty, and put in foreshadowing and create the witty repartee. But, to get to the re-writing, you first have to do the writing. So turn off the television and Facebook and twitter and WoW and write the book. So you can re-write it and make it good.

3. I don’t know how to start writing my book.
Neither do I. So I never start writing a book. A book is big. It’s lots of pages and many many words. No one can write a book tonight. But what you can write is a scene. Write a fight scene, or describe the village in the fold of the mountains or delineate exactly how his muscled back looks in the moonlight. Write something that excites you, that scene that you think you have to wait until the middle of the story to write. Write that. You might just discover that, truly, that is where your book is supposed to start. Or, once written, you may back up and start framing that scene with the other scenes that will give it the full impact. But don’t try to write a book.

So, sorry, I lied to you. Fiction writers do that a lot. There isn’t a secret to being a writer. Just a piece of advice that no one, not even me, wants to take.

Go write.

1. I don’t have time. 2. I’ll never be good enough. 3. I don’t know how to start writing my book. The time has come for me to break the web of silence and give you the secret and arcane knowledge that you must possess to become a writer. I warn you that it may […]

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Today’s Mail

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As a writer, my daily ‘snail’ mail is as important a lifeline to my work as is my e-mail.  My mail carrier and I are on very friendly terms, and I have near daily encounters with the UPS driver and the DHL fellow.

Although a tremendous amount of the daily work is done electronically, there are still some tasks that demand paper copies.  For me, this includes galleys.  Galleys or page proofs are the pages of  a manuscript printed out exactly as they will appear first in the ARC (Advance Reading Copy—sent to critics and book buyers) and the eventual book.  The galleys are my absolutely final chance to look at my own work and correct any mistakes.  I get two galleys: one from the UK publishers and one from the US ones.  There are, of course, differences in spelling and punctuation and idiom, but we try to make the galleys as close to identical as we can.  This means that I read each one, very closely, looking for a dropped quotation mark or a repeated word.  Sad to say, most of the errors I discover in galleys are mine.  They are the little mistakes that have managed to elude me since my first submission of the tale.  And my goal is always to find and correct every single one before the book reaches the reader.

galleys

Yes.  I know I always miss some. But I always try.

Today’s mail brought me a lovely surprise in the form of a birthday gift!  This was from Carrie Osbourne. She had found and claimed the gift hidden by artist Jackie Morris at Torquay Museum.  I need to mention again that it was hidden in plain sight, on a step ladder with rungs made from the floor boards of Agatha Christie’s house.  So Cool!  She sent me not only a lovely card with her own art work, but a print as well.

A gift from Carrie Osbourne

Today’s delivery was a delight and a surprise.  As many of you know, Jackie Morris has created new covers for The Farseer Trilogy, and HarperCollins UK has reissued the books in paperback with the wonderful new covers.  And I am fortunate to receive today not only my copies of these, but my author copies of Blood of Dragons.  Four lovely big boxes of books:

 

book delivery!Blood of Dragons and Assassin’s Apprentice!

today mailAssassin’s Quest!

mail 1

Royal Assassin and ???????.  NARUTO!!!!

Some authors would consider this some sort of shipping error that there is a copy of Naruto in with my books.  I simply consider it a sign that HarperCollins UK knows and loves me!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a writer, my daily ‘snail’ mail is as important a lifeline to my work as is my e-mail.  My mail carrier and I are on very friendly terms, and I have near daily encounters with the UPS driver and the DHL fellow. Although a tremendous amount of the daily work is done electronically, there […]

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Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington

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Assassin's Apprentice Michael Whalen cover

 

Tomorrow, I will arrive bright and early at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle Washington.  I will be there all day Friday, and Saturday, and I hope I will be there for at least part of Sunday.  Emerald City Comic Con opens at 10 AM in the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle Washington.

Random House has sent me a generous supply of paperback copies of Assassin’s Apprentice to sign and give away.  (This cover art by Michael Whalen.)

 

 

I will be wandering about with some in a satchel, to sign and give away to anyone who finds me and asks for one!  Office Kat will be similarly encumbered. And the new Minions, Josh, Ru and MC will also have copies to give away.  Depending on how many bars I have on my cell phone when I am inside the Washington State Convention Center, I will attempt to tweet or Facebook my location.

Having carefully studied the Friday line up for Emerald City Comic Con, I will tell you that there is far too much good stuff going on!  Picking and choosing was difficult, to say the least.  But these are my choices for panels and events for Friday:

Friday:

BUILDING YOUR BRAND
Room: HALL B (608-609)
Time: 11:10AM – 12:00PM

Thom Zahler (Love and Capes, My Little Pony) and Ben Thompson (Badass of the Week) and other guests will discuss the marketing, how to build an audience and create a brand through the online media, the convention circuit and more.

 

ECCC presents Dwight Schultz
Room: MAIN HALL (6ABC)
Time: 1:00PM – 1:50PM

Dwight Schultz is perhaps best known for his roles on The A-Team and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but he is also a much sought after voice actor with credits that include Chowder, Ben 10, and CatDog. A sure to be fun panel!

 

ECCC presents Nichelle Nichols
Room: MAIN HALL (6ABC)
Time: 3:00PM – 3:50PM

Lt. Uhura. The name has become synonymous with strong female role-model. That can also describe the actress who played her, Nichelle Nichols. Come listen as Nichelle speaks about her amazing life and times.

 

Gamers 3: Hands of Fate
Room: TCC LL2 (Screening)
Time: 6:00PM – 7:55PM

Join Zombie Orpheus and Dead Gentlemen for a screening and Q&A with the creators of The Gamers: Hands of Fate. When Cass travels to Gen Con Indy to win a CCG tournament and a date, his priorities change when an army of the undead threatens the game.

 

So possibly look for me lingering out side of those venues after the presentations.

 

You will notice there is a lot of open space in there!  So during some of that time, I will be roving, and in a Time To Be Announced I will be down in room 309, giving away signed copies of Assassin’s Apprentice at one of the University Book Store tables.  And I will, of course, be happy to sign any other Robin Hobb or Megan Lindholm books that you purchase there.

 

Hope to see you there!

 

 

  Tomorrow, I will arrive bright and early at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle Washington.  I will be there all day Friday, and Saturday, and I hope I will be there for at least part of Sunday.  Emerald City Comic Con opens at 10 AM in the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle Washington. […]

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The Dragon’s Hoard!!!! From Jackie Morris

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hoard-680x1024Would you like to have all this for your very own?  It’s possible.

Follow this link to Jackie Morris’ site: http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/blog/dragons-hoard/

This very generous offer is from Jackie herself, who has recently been producing remarkable new cover art for The Farseer Trilogy.

Better hurry!

Would you like to have all this for your very own?  It’s possible. Follow this link to Jackie Morris’ site: http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/blog/dragons-hoard/ This very generous offer is from Jackie herself, who has recently been producing remarkable new cover art for The Farseer Trilogy. Better hurry!

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Photos from the Birthday Game

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Valerya, the finder, at Tommy Emmanuel's Studio, Nashville, TN with Clara, my hider!

Valerya, the finder, at Tommy Emmanuel’s Studio, Nashville, TN with Clara, my hider!

Suzanne finds the gift at Seattle University Bookstore.  Thank you hider Peter Orullian

Suzanne finds the gift at Seattle University Bookstore. Thank you hider Peter Orullian

Shauli found the gift that Terie hid at a yarn shop in Manchester.

Shauli found the gift that Terie hid at a yarn shop in Manchester.

Sandy finds the book hidden at Tails and Whiskers, Aspley, Australia.  Thank you Lou for being a hider!

Sandy finds the book hidden at Tails and Whiskers, Aspley, Australia. Thank you Lou for being a hider!

Wesley Chu was my Chicago hider and increased the prize for the lucky finder, Rowan.  Thanks to Angry Robot Books, too!

Wesley Chu was my Chicago hider and increased the prize for the lucky finder, Rowan. Thanks to Angry Robot Books, too!

Hider John Howe not only added to the loot, he left a trail of clues. Thank you Arty Bees books and Weta Cave for playing along!  And congratulations to Ashley who sent an emissary to claim the trove!

Hider John Howe not only added to the loot, he left a trail of clues. Thank you Arty Bees books and Weta Cave for playing along! And congratulations to Ashley who sent an emissary to claim the trove!

Kaktus was the lucky finder of a book  hidden in Lausanne, Switzerland by artist Stephanie Novarrez. at place de la Riponne.

Kaktus was the lucky finder of a book hidden in Lausanne, Switzerland by artist Stephanie Novarrez. at place de la Riponne.

Lasse and Kim discovered the book hidden on Word on the Water, a book barge in London!  Thank  you James Bacon for being my hider!

Lasse and Kim discovered the book hidden on Word on the Water, a book barge in London! Thank you James Bacon for being my hider!

A grand place for a book hunt!  Lausanne, Switzerland, hider Crooty (check out her work on DeviantArt)

A grand place for a book hunt! Lausanne, Switzerland, hider Crooty (check out her work on DeviantArt)

This in not Louise.  I don't think.  But he obviously believes that the prize hidden by Laura Lam in Aberdeen is rightfully his!  Laura added a copy of Pantomime, her wonderful book to the prize package.

This in not Louise. I don’t think. But he obviously believes that the prize hidden by Laura Lam in Aberdeen is rightfully his! Laura added a copy of Pantomime, her wonderful book to the prize package.

IMG_20140306_151553976

Diane discovered a book hidden at Elevated Ice Cream in Port Townsend.  Hidden by my longtime friend and fellow fantasy novelist Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

Diane discovered a book hidden at Elevated Ice Cream in Port Townsend. Hidden by my longtime friend and fellow fantasy novelist Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

My niece Monica was the hider for this one at McCafferty's Coffee in Fairbanks Alaska.  Cassie was the clever finder!

My niece Monica was the hider for this one at McCafferty’s Coffee in Fairbanks Alaska. Cassie was the clever finder!

My sister Kay is on the left.  She was the hider  and Ange was the finder who tracked down the book in a tree and joined Kay for a cup of tea afterwards.  Ohau, New Zealand.

My sister Kay is on the left. She was the hider and Ange was the finder who tracked down the book in a tree and joined Kay for a cup of tea afterwards. Ohau, New Zealand.

ange 2KayThese are just some of the snapshots of lucky finders in the Birthday Game!

Thanks again to all who played.  Thanks to all my hiders, and to the people who kept the secret so well!  I went with the old adage, If you want something done, ask a busy person!  And many busy people paused to help me have a wonderful birthday!

Now.  What shall we do next year?  Happy March to all!  In like a lion and out like a lamb!

These are just some of the snapshots of lucky finders in the Birthday Game! Thanks again to all who played.  Thanks to all my hiders, and to the people who kept the secret so well!  I went with the old adage, If you want something done, ask a busy person!  And many busy people paused […]

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#12 found????!!!!!

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Well, when I wrapped up the book gifts and put the ‘to the Finder’ notes in, this is what I wrote:

Dear Finder,

Hurray! You have found a birthday present from Robin Hobb. I hope you will enjoy it!

If you found it by following the clues, wonderful! If you found it by accident, that’s wonderful, too. It’s still for you.

We would be very happy if you posted or put up a photo of your find at www.robinhobb.com or at https://www.facebook.com/robin.hobb to share the fun with everyone. If you twitter, I am at @RobinHobb. Or drop in at my Tumblr (RealRobinHobb) to let us know. This book is yours now. You may keep it, give it to a friend, donate it to a library, eBay it . . . whatever you like.

Thanks so much for playing our little game! We hope you have enjoyed it!

Robin Hobb Robinhobb@robinhobb.com

Because, you know, I had the feeling that someone would be that lucky! And sure enough, I am now hearing reports from other hunters that yes, it was found! On TUESDAY! Before we even announced the Game.

How do I feel? I’m laughing! It’s perfect, isn’t it!

And so while I still hope that the finder will be inspired to send me an email, it probably won’t happen! And I love that the game ends on a note of mystery!!!

Happy Hobbit Birthday to me! The Game is over . . . . for this year!

Robin

Well, when I wrapped up the book gifts and put the ‘to the Finder’ notes in, this is what I wrote: Dear Finder, Hurray! You have found a birthday present from Robin Hobb. I hope you will enjoy it! If you found it by following the clues, wonderful! If you found it by accident, that’s […]

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And a Chance at Free Books from Harper Voyager US! Hurry!

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Two caveats!

This will end FAST. Today at 7 PM East Coast time. Don’t Delay.

And it is only for US readers.

Here is the link:

http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2014/03/07/win-robin-hobbs-rain-wilds-chronicles-books/

Go there, and make a post. Or go to Twitter and make a post @HarperVoyagerUS

Four lucky winners will get sets of the first three books in the Rain Wild Chronicles.
One lucky winner will get a full set of the Farseer Trilogy also!

Hurry now! Off you go! No time for pocket handkerchiefs!

Robin

Two caveats! This will end FAST. Today at 7 PM East Coast time. Don’t Delay. And it is only for US readers. Here is the link: http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2014/03/07/win-robin-hobbs-rain-wilds-chronicles-books/ Go there, and make a post. Or go to Twitter and make a post @HarperVoyagerUS Four lucky winners will get sets of the first three books in the […]

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FOUND! FOUND!

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And the Birthday Game winds to a close today!

This will be a quick post to let people know what has been found.
For now:
#2 at Ohau, New Zealand, has been claimed by two lovely ladies who made a long drive to get it. And stopped to have tea with my sister before venturing out with electric torches (flashlights for you Yanks) to find the book perched in a tree.

The prize in Tilburg, The Netherlands, has been discovered. And many thanks to my friend Guido for jumping in and providing a treasure for the Netherlands. I did try to find some Dutch hiders, but many of my friends are very busy people and could not say yes. I should have asked Guido in the first place! Thank you, my friend! I love my Dutch readers!

The prize hidden by Molly in Brooklyn has also been discovered perched on a shelf in a little bookstore called WORD
Thank you Word for letting Molly hide a book with you! And thank you Molly for doing this in the crazy atmosphere of heading out on your honeymoon! That is above and beyond friendship.

No word yet on the #12 hidden in Grand Rapids, Michigan! I think that is our sole prize that is still in play!
If it’s not found by tonight, I will ask Tedrick for one more clue!

Many thanks to all! Great Birthday! Happy hobbits here!

Robin

And the Birthday Game winds to a close today! This will be a quick post to let people know what has been found. For now: #2 at Ohau, New Zealand, has been claimed by two lovely ladies who made a long drive to get it. And stopped to have tea with my sister before venturing […]

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Two More Found

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Well, #7 in Port Townsend has been found! At Elevated Ice Cream! This was hidden by the delightful Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and found by Diane!

And Sam Sykes had hidden his book at Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale Arizona. Congratulations Michael!

And I had word that a hearty soul is on the way to the #2 site in New Zealand! Good luck!

Still up for grabs:

#2 in New Zealand
#12 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
#27 in Brooklyn

Do we need extra clues for any of these?

Robin

Well, #7 in Port Townsend has been found! At Elevated Ice Cream! This was hidden by the delightful Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and found by Diane! And Sam Sykes had hidden his book at Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale Arizona. Congratulations Michael! And I had word that a hearty soul is on the way to the #2 […]

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And Then There Were SIX!

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And here are the remaining prizes! Only 6 left to claim.
There are two new ones up in posts preceding this one. One is in Tilburg, the Netherlands. And one in Scottsdale, Arizona.

#2 in New Zealand is waiting for someone to make the drive and enjoy a cup of tea.
#7 Port Townsend, WA! Wake up and find this!
#12 Grand Rapids, Michigan Watch Tedrick’s video!
#27 Brooklyn, NY It’s easy pickings for this one!

Please give us a shout at robinhobb@robinhobb.com if you find one!

And here are the remaining prizes! Only 6 left to claim. There are two new ones up in posts preceding this one. One is in Tilburg, the Netherlands. And one in Scottsdale, Arizona. #2 in New Zealand is waiting for someone to make the drive and enjoy a cup of tea. #7 Port Townsend, WA! […]

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