Six impossible things

From the mailbag, #1

And now for a quick look through the mailbag (fixing the comments took longer than expected, but they finally seem to be working, yay!). Some excerpts that seem like a good idea to answer here:

From several people: “Will you be autographing/appearing in X area soon?”

Answer: If it’s not listed on the web site under “News and Appearances,” I don’t have any current plans for it. That means that unless you live in Minnesota, the current answer is “no.” Out-of-town appearances get scheduled a fairly long way in advance; in town (meaning the Twin Cities, Minneapolis-St. Paul), I occasionally get asked a few weeks (rather than a few months) in advance, but I’m not really anticipating anything new in the near term. My publisher usually sets up this sort of thing, and right now, they really want me to be working on the next book and not doing appearances! If and when something does come up, I’ll post it on the web site.

From a high school English/Creative Writing teacher: “…someday (a still somewhat very far away someday) I hope to maybe finish a few stories I write during my free time. Piggy-backing off of one of your blog posts, I ‘write to write,’ whether I ever share it with the world or not. ..”

Good for you!

One of the hardest things about writing is making time to do it, especially if you’re not published yet (or have chosen not to write for publication). After all, there are a lot more important things you should be doing, right? And an awful lot of people find themselves classifying everything as more important than writing, especially if it’s “just a hobby” (i.e., they aren’t making money at it).

But whether you want to be published or not, the only way to get things finished is to work on them. Preferably with some regularity—there is a momentum that builds up when you’ve been working on a project on a daily or weekly basis, even if you’re only writing one or two sentences at a time.—but regular or not, some writing is better than no writing, if you want to finish things.

For some folks, it helps to remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time through. You have plenty of chances to fix it later. On the other hand, if you loathe and despise the revision process, spending a few extra minutes to get things right in the first draft may be a better use of your time. It depends on the writer.

  1. Someone once asked me when I decided I was a writer, and my reply was that I never *decided* it, it was just sort of became more and more glaringly obvious as those stacks of paper with marks on them piled higher and higher…

    Glad to see your blog is up and running, I stopped by once before, but it wasn’t up yet. Now that I know it is, I’ll stop by more often. 🙂

  2. I’m really glad that you’re encouraging other people to write. I’m 14 years old and I would very much like to be an author one day. I’ll probably never be quite as good an author as you are, but an author all the same. I’m actually working on a novel right now. I’m getting pretty far on it, too. I think that you may have been one of the many writers that inspired me to try writing. I really enjoy doing it. Thank you.
    P.S.-I’m currently reading The Mislaid Magician and I love it. Thank you for all of the great books.

    • You’re welcome. If you want to be an author, the first main thing you need to do is write. Many people would really like to skip this part, but it’s really not optional. Other than that: learn the basics (typing, grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax), read a lot, and have a life.

Questions regarding foreign rights, film/tv subrights, and other business matters should be directed to Pat’s agent Ginger Clark, Curtis-Brown, Ltd., 10 Astor Place, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003,