My Budding Twitter Friendship with a Famous Author

Illegal writing, oh how I’ve missed thee!  I have been traveling for work all week, and haven’t had a moment to think about blogging or noveling (or cleaning or other things I’m supposed to do for that matter).  Sometimes duty calls.

So, back to business.  Unbelievably, the last week and a half I received the most views on my blog EVER and all because of Jennifer Weiner!! (And because of Babel Fair fans, but JW brought the views to another level.)

Who is this Jennifer Weiner lady and why is she so special?  Well, friends, to answer the WHO–I think she is most famous for her novel “In Her Shoes” because it was turned into a movie with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette.   “Good in Bed” and her collection of short stories are also good, and she actually has a new book  coming out “The Next Best Thing” on Tuesday, July 3.

As for the WHY– she is special because (1) I can relate to some things in her personal life (former journalist, wrote her first novel at 28, ivy league background), (2) her advice to writers spoke to me at the right time, and (3) I appreciate the articles, interviews and blog posts I’ve read about her experiences being discriminated against as a writer.  On that last point– interestingly, JW often talks about the dominance of the field by men (btw, that sentence links to her blog posts, check out the one from March 31, 2012) AND how difficult it was  for her to pitch a novel that featured a plus-sized woman (because no one in America has ever had weight issues, right?).  This resonates with me because I wonder about these things all the time.  I am a minority person, and my protagonist will be a minority, but in my head my target audience is ALL women in their 20s-early 30s. Period.  So I take her comments and experiences on that point to heart. One day, I will discuss this issue in depth.  Today is about my new twitter friendship with Jennifer Weiner!

Last Friday afternoon, I wrote a post about JW and tagged her on twitter.  Mind you, I only have like 20 twitter followers and have only tweeted links to this blog (and once to see what happens if you tweet with no followers—does it make a sound?)  After un-privatizing my tweets and tweeting JW a second time (this time with a typo!!), not only did she tweet me back, I got hundreds of views to this blog within an hour!  No joke! Sort of wish I had spent more time on it. And then JW and I became twitter friends (ok acquaintances, ok a famous person responding to an adoring fan a week before her book comes out…who cares!)  This is how the convo went:

Me: @jenniferweiner My blog post about JW’s point that “a writer writers”: wp.me/p2qjy2-2K .*

JW: Great response to my advice for writers. RT@me** My blog post about JW’s point that “a writer writers”: wp.me/p2qjy2-2K 

Me:*** @jenniferweiner Omg! You know I exist!! (Of course I meant a writer WRITES)

Two days pass and hundreds of JW fans read my blog post…some people comment that they are lawyer/writers, most respond to the JW’s wisdom…then I return to twitter and notice I’ve been tweeted by a JW fan!

JW Fan: @jenniferweiner @me Numbers 4,5 and 12 sum things up for me quite nicely.  Also, ur ethos is spot on: I think it has to be, no?

Me: @JWFan @jenniferweiner I think so, and I would imagine you need some luck too…

JW: @me Luck definitely matters. Great books die on the vine—wrong cover, bad title, published the day after 9/11…

Me: Yikes!

The end…for now!

Omg!! So cool…  I had actually read somewhere that JW is one of the top tweeters in America or something. She has my vote!

Till next time!

*Can you find the typo?

**Sorry peeps, twitter handle withheld.

***Or so I thought, now I don’t think this actually ever went through…If this was facebook, I would know what I was doing!

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A Writer Writes: Jennifer Weiner Wisdom

I love Jennifer Weiner.  Her books are good, but really, I just love her.  After reading a couple of her Lady Lit novels “Good in Bed,” “In Her Shoes,” among others, I browsed her website to see how she got her start and if I could extract some wisdom from her experience.  To my surprise, Weiner posted an extensive essay targeted directly at me!  Well, at aspiring novelists (other authors don’t have nearly as much advice on their sites).  Parts of it really spoke to me, which is why I love her now.  Specifically, she lists 10 steps (updated to 12 steps on her blog) one must take to get published (in reality, it’s 12 she took to get her published, but isn’t all advice basically a summary of one’s personal experiences?).  My favorite step is number 4: “Get a Job (not an MFA).” (An MFA, my lawyer friends, is a Master in Fine Arts.  If you want to master in creative writing, that’s the degree you would get.) Those years are better spent studying life rather than noveling. Beyond that, (and this is the part I liked), an MFA isn’t necessary because regardless of what job you have, a writer writes.

Side note: the other day, I edited a legal brief for my friend and crossed out all the block quotes because I hate block quotes.  Nevertheless, that’s not stopping me from using one in this blog.  I’m breaking my own rule because in explaining the statement “a writer writes,” Weiner said some things that reaffirmed to myself that I am truly a writer.  Those things (almost completely) are below, block-quote style:

If you’re going to be a writer, nothing can stop you.  You’ll write poems, you’ll write stories, you’ll begin a novel that will forever languish in a shoebox beneath your bed, but you will write.  You’ll do it in your spare minutes, you’ll snatch time before work or eschew prime-time TV after.  You’ll do it because it’s your passion and your calling, because doing it makes you happier than almost anything else, because, really, you don’t have any choice… – J. Weiner (The complete quote is on her blog here).

There are other reasons why I love Jennifer Weiner, but I’ll save those for another day.  For now, I’ll share with you her 12 steps to getting  novel published (some are depressing, but they her steps, not mine!).  She discusses each step in depth here.

Jennifer Weiner’s 12 Step Program to Getting Published:

  1. Have an Unhappy Childhood
  2. Have a Miserable Love Life
  3. Major in Liberal Arts (but not necessarily creative writing)
  4. Get a Job (not an MFA)
  5. Write the Story Only You Can Write
  6. Get a Dog
  7. Get Published
  8. Find an Agent
  9. Be a Smart Consumer
  10. Self-Publish?
  11. Use Social Media
  12. Read

I certainly agree with some of these, but not all.  What do others think??

UPDATE: Omg, Jennifer Weiner re-tweeted my blog post!!! Now I love her even more!!!  (Of course I tweeted “a writer writeRs” instead of a “writer writes,” but she tweeted me anyway!)