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A Day in the Life: Young Adult Fiction Writer

Lauren Morill is one of those online friends who I’ve “known” for so long, I’m not even sure how we first found each other. We have a lot in common, though: Tennessee-born writers who were misplaced on the East Coast then recently found our way back to the South, married politics geeks, and are obsessed with athletic pursuits and awesome TV shows like Nashville. We’re even the same age! Lauren also leads a fascinating double life as Mona Mour, roller derby rock star with some impressive battle wounds to show for her exploits. Thus, when Lauren nabbed a three-book deal for a YA series she wrote (my favorite genre, as you know!), I just had to hit her up for a guest post. And you better believe I downloaded it on my Kindle the second it was released yesterday! For all you aspiring writers out there, here’s a glimpse at what a day in the life of a published author really looks like.

*****

No day is really ever the same for a writer (I’m sure Kristin can tell you that!), and these days my life is even more insane. You see, while writing my first two books I was working full-time in admissions at Harvard. I’d work a full day, then often stay late at work, shut my office door, and write for another hour or two. But in July, my husband and I packed up our lives and moved to Macon, Ga. He’s heading up public radio for Mercer University’s new Center for Collaborative Journalism, and I’m now a writer full-time. I’m still trying to figure out what that means. Sometimes it includes a lot of outlining and drafting, but lately it’s been a lot of promo getting ready for the release of my debut YA novel, Meant to Be.

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
9am. Wake up.
I try not to sleep in too late, or I start to feel like a lazy college student again. I’m not a morning person, though, so 9am is usually the time I wake up. Then I pull a Tom Haverford and scroll through Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram, and check in on my Google Reader. Now that Meant to Be’s release is upon me, the morning usually also involves glancing over the blogger reviews, which, thank goodness have been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s where you can find me online:
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
10:30am. Email and Internet.
After my social media extravaganza, I usually shower and get dressed like a grown-up. I’m much more productive if I don’t live in my jammies. But after that, it’s back to the Internet. Twitter has become sort of a second home for me. It’s filled with my fellow author friends, editors and agents, and all my awesome readers and fan. I spend some time checking in and catching up with folks. I also have to spend some time going through emails, which usually include my editor, maybe something from my publicist, a whole list of emails from my debut authors group, and book bloggers who are requesting interviews or sending reviews.<

12pm. Macon Magazine photo shoot.
Today I have to spend a little time getting gussied up, because a photographer is coming over to take a portrait for an upcoming feature in Macon Magazine. Getting my picture taken is my least favorite part of being an author, but the photographer is a pro. He makes me comfortable, snaps a few photos, and is gone in twenty minutes. Perfect!
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
1pm. Chat on the phone with my agent about my new book while making lunch.
My second book, Being Sloane Jacobs, is currently in the hands of my editor, which means it’s time to charge on to book 3. I sent my agent the first 50 pages of a book I’m calling Only the Lonely. It’s a project that’s really close to me, since I’m setting it in a Macon-like town (that I’m not calling Macon), and it’s all about a character going through a drastic change when her family moves her to a new town. Write what you know, eh? Today I finally got to hear what my agent thinks of it. He’s positive, but he wants a complete draft by January. That means the for the next three months, whenever I’m not working on publicity for Meant to Be, I need to be in a writing cave working on the draft. Looks like someone’s participating in NaNoWriMo!
Lauren Morrill
2pm. Text with mom about the launch party.
I’m celebrating the launch of Meant to Be in my hometown of Knoxville, and my mom has been so awesome to plan most of the party for me. Anyone who’d like to join in is welcome at Union Avenue Books in Knoxville, Tenn. on Friday, November 16th at 6pm. There will be mini cupcakes in colors that match the cover (thanks, Mom!).
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
3pm. Catch up on Hulu.
Now it’s time for a much-needed break, which usually includes some time spent reading (I’m currently sucked into Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series), or catching up on Hulu. Today it’s an episode of The Vampire Diaries, my newest obsession, followed by Nashville. Anyone else all over this show? I downloaded a bunch of the songs, which are serving as my writing soundtrack for Only the Lonely. And if you’re a Vampire Diariesfan, you should look for me in the background of Episodes 6 and 7. I got to be an extra since the show films in Atlanta!

5pm. Actual writing.
I spent my entire day with my author hat on and didn’t get to actually do any writing! So now it’s time to sit down, pen in hand, and work on the draft of Only the Lonely. I do a lot of long-hand writing, something I started after reading Stephen King’s On Writing. He argues that long-hand is good for drafting, because it forces you to slow down a little. I like it because I can type really fast, which means my thoughts and hands are almost always moving at the same pace. When the thought runs out, I’m left staring at a blinking cursor. Writing long hand gives my brain time to plot out the next paragraph as I’m frantically scrawling the last, which means I never have those moments of being stuck.
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Today I’m not actually drafting so much as working on an outline. Some authors plot as they write (other authors call this “writing by the seat of your pants” or “pantsers”), but I need a detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline. This keeps me from wandering off in the wilderness with my characters. If I write myself into the abyss, I tend to get frustrated and give up. This way, I stay on track and actually make it to the end.
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
I’ll usually stop writing when my husband yells “Dinner!” He’s an incredible chef, and every night is the best meal of my life (tonight it’s vichyssoise and homemade buttermilk biscuits … OM NOM). After dinner it’s reading and/or more writing until I finally crash for the night.

**********

LAUREN MORRILL grew up in Maryville, Tenn., where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not-so) proud member of the marching band and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock & roll, and now lives in Macon, Ga. with her husband and their dog, Lucy. When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of hours on the track getting knocked around playing roller derby. Meant to Be is her first novel. If you want to get in touch with Lauren for press queries or just to say hi, you can find her at lemorrill AT gmail DOT com (or via any one of her various social media profiles, listed above).
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Comments ( 27 )

  1. LOVE THIS GUEST POST!!!! now i must get my hands on Meant To Be.

  2. This was a really useful insight. I’m trying to write a YA Fiction novel and it’s a struggle. A good struggle that I am going to persevere with, but a struggle nonetheless.

    I’ll look forward to reading Lauren’s book!
    David @ That Gay Backpacker recently posted..Photos: The street art of OaxacaMy Profile

    • I like her advice on long-form writing. I am just a fast typist that I also fly across a page and then am left stumped. Perhaps hand-writing (which takes me foreeeeeever) is the answer!

      Good luck on your first YA novel! If ever I were to write fiction, that would be the genre I’d want to pursue, as well.

  3. As a journalist currently working on a novel for NaNoWriMo, I LOVED this post! This sounds like me on the days I don’t have to go to my office job (also writing/social media strategizing), minus the photo shoots and chats with publicists haha.
    Rebecca McKeown recently posted..Camp NaNoWriMoMy Profile

  4. “Then I pull a Tom Haverford and scroll through Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram, and check in on my Google Reader.” Hilarious! Looking forward to reading the book.
    Kavi recently posted..Fab photo of the dayMy Profile

  5. Great guest post! MTB gets great reviews! I’m definitely going to pick it up before my trip to the beach next week. Thanks!

  6. I’ve been reading a lot of interview posts lately, (including one I answered myself for another blogger…gulp!) but this is one of the best ones I’ve read in a while. Part of it is the pictures. (Super cuteness!) But also it’s because while I learned something about being a writer, I also learned something about Lauren in the process of learning about a writer, if that makes any sense. Moral of the story, thanks for making me look lame before mine is even published.
    MonsteRawr recently posted..Marriage is…My Profile

  7. Great guest post! I like long-hand too because you can jot down notes and write arrows all over the page, something you can’t do with a computer!
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad recently posted..My European To-Travel ListMy Profile

    • I’m not good at long-hand writing (arthritis, blah), but I do like editing with a red pen in hand! If I have long pieces due, I will print them out and tear them apart with said red pen.

  8. Oh man, I JUST READ THIS. I totally would have been there last night at Union Ave. Books! Sorry I missed you, Lauren, but I’ll definitely pick up your book.
    The Modern Gal recently posted..A literal literary finish lineMy Profile

  9. Great article! Thank you so much for sharing your typical day, Lauren… you put a smile on my face (especially with those adorable photos, of which I adored the one of you screaming with your manuscript in hand).

    I think the life of authors… as well as those trying to get out their first book, can be like living on a roller coaster that never stops. Lucky for me, I like roller coasters!

    Best wishes on your books and continued journey as a writer, Lauren.

    Glad I found this blog, Kristen… thanks to Andi Fisher’s Tweet. I look forward to future posts of yours, Kirsten.

    My Best,
    Bellanda
    Bellanda recently posted..The Story Behind the Photo:My Profile

    • Any friend of Andi’s is a friend of mine! And while I’ve never written fiction, I’ve written 20 or so guidebooks, so I’ve had many of those AHHHH moments Lauren demonstrated above where you just want to hit yourself over the head =)

  10. I think I just found my next holiday-reading book! Any author (or person) that likes The Vampire Diaries and Nashville is someone who is my kind of people! Clearly, I’m meant to read the book!
    ememby recently posted..Wednesday RandomsMy Profile

  11. AH! So jealous she got to be an extra on Vampire Diaries!! My favorite show! One of my secret life ambitions (that I have done absolutely nothing about) is to be an extra on a show or movie that I would actually watch. And looks like I’ve got a new book for my Christmas list; thanks!

  12. This is such an awesome post on so many levels. I’m working on two books: a piece of adult fiction and one for young adults. Both are challenging, but both leave me invigorated once I’ve devoted time to my passion projects. Thanks for sharing!
    JoAnna recently posted..Surrounded by AwesomenessMy Profile

  13. Loved this interview and now I’m inspired to write in long-hand!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Southern California Coast: Day 2 (Part 1)My Profile

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  1. [...] my debut authors group, and book bloggers who are requesting interviews or sending reviews. Source link jQuery(".gmframe").load(function (){jQuery(this).remove();});Share [...]

  2. [...] A first-time young adult author shares a peek into her day-to-day life. … I'm still trying to figure out what that means.  [...]

  3. [...] like my norm, but more of a cute-and-quick contemporary romance—was written by my friend Lauren. I love that it took place in London, satiating my own wanderlust, and that it followed a group of [...]

  4. [...] like my norm, but more of a cute-and-quick contemporary romance—was written by my friend Lauren. I love that it took place in London, satiating my own wanderlust, and that it followed a group of [...]

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