So I was worried when my publisher first told me that I had to start a blog that I would become obsessed with it and never finish my novels because I'd be so busy blogging.
I know a lot of you think authors lead these very exciting lives, gallivanting around the world on our yachts. But the truth is, I don't actually own a yacht. Nor do I know any other authors who do. Maybe JK Rowling and Robert James Waller do. But I don't actually know either of them.
The rest of us mostly spend time in our offices or basements or beds, or wherever it is that we prefer to write, not seeing anyone and having little contact with the outside world until our books come out and our publishers make us go on tour.
Then all of a sudden we go from seeing practically no one every day except our spouses and maybe the UPS man, to having to address a roomful of total strangers or a television studio or radio station in a witty and charming manner, then take questions and smile for photos.
Which is really hard on shy authors–of which there are way more than there are witty and charming ones. Because most people who become authors do so because they love to read, which is not exactly a group activity. So a lot of authors don't have anything resembling “people” skills because they are never around “people,” just books and maybe a computer.
There are these people called “media coaches” that publishers sometimes hire to teach their authors how to act less like authors and more like normal people. Media coaches will, for example, film an author talking about her book, then make her watch the film over and over, pointing out all the times she didn't make eye contact or whatever, and then keep making her do it over until she gets it right.
This is also known, in author circles, as “hell.”
Many authors don't know how to act around people because they are more “observers” of life than participants. Because if you participate in life, you don't have time to observe it, let alone time to write.
The lucky authors find a balance between observing and participating. But it's still hard for them. Like, I'm not shy, and I have a spouse and friends, but I still do more observing than participating. I have never, for instance, operated a motor vehicle. This is because I have a tendency to get distracted while observing, say, a small chipmunk at the side of the road, when I should be concentrating on merging into traffic. I figured—and the Indiana State Department of Motor Vehicles agreed—that it was simply better for everyone if I stayed off the road, except as a passenger (another word for observer).
So when I want to do something for “fun,” to me, fun doesn't mean “go out on a yacht.” It's “write a new book.” That's what I like to do for fun.
Which is why a lot of times, when I hand in a new book, my publisher is like, “Um…thanks. What's this?” Because it's some random book I wrote on vacation for, like, fun, that isn't even due.
But since this whole blog thing started, there hasn't been any of that “writing a book for fun.” Which on the one hand has solved my publisher's problem—no more random books. On the other hand, the book I actually have due, a sequel to “Boy Meets Girl,” is already two months late, and I'm only on page 10.
But can I really blame this on the blog? After all, a lot has happened in the past few months: I became an aunt. I got lyme disease. I wrote Princess Diaries 6. I got TiVo. I went to Italy. I had several houseguests. I bought a pair of Uggs. I watched a whole season of Rich Girls. I got Henrietta to eat a potato chip, proving that cats will actually eat potato chips with proper positive reinforcement. That's a lot of heavy, heavy stuff.
And okay, it's true that my writer friend Michele Jaffe and I spent almost this entire weekend writing another advice blog for all of you, which will be posted later this week.
And it's true that we kept going back and tweaking it seven million times, completely ignoring the books we both have due.
And it's also true that often in the middle of the night my husband wakes up and looks at me as I sit beside him, bathed in the light from my laptop, and goes, “Meg. What are you doing?” and when I say, “I'm working on my blog,” he says, “You are insane,” and rolls over to go back to sleep.
And yes, my hard drive is filling up with blog entries. Not even finished ones. UNFINISHED ONES. Ones I'm GOING to finish later. Like, oh, I don't know, maybe instead of FINISHING THE BOOK THAT WAS DUE TWO MONTHS AGO.
But does that make me a blog addict?
It's true I've given up carbs—well, the bad ones, like refined sugar and flour—and started exercising. But I had to do that, on account of the lyme, and the fact that if Janet Jackson can look that good at 37, so can I. Or at least, as good as I can look doing exactly half an hour of cardio a day and no more, the minimum amount of daily exercise people should get, according to the US government.
But that doesn't mean I've REPLACED my addiction to cookies and not moving from my bed all day with BLOGGING, does it?
I realized I might have a blogging problem when I spent a whole day reading Dave Barry's blog.
I like Dave Barry, from what I know of him. I read his books. I'm still a little depressed he hasn't asked me to be in his “author” band, the Rock-Bottom Remainders. I realize I never did learn to play my bass, but I played Daisy Mae in my high school's production of 'L'il Abner.' Surely that means I can sing. At least I used to be able to. It's true that when I sing now, Henrietta becomes very upset and tries to bite me. But she only has one eye, so allowances must be made for some of her behavior.
And okay, yeah, I have lyme disease, but so does Amy Tan, and SHE's in Dave Barry's band. So where's my invitation?
But really. A whole day. An entire day I dedicated to his blog. Which was very funny, but still…this can't be normal. There must be something wrong here.
But admitting you HAVE a problem is halfway there to solving it, right? And I admit it. I am powerless over my blog. There. I've said it. Can we talk about something else now? Something important? Like….
THE FINAL EPISODE OF SEX AND THE CITY!!!!!!!!!
Okay, I won't ruin it for those of you in other time zones. But it was good. Very, very good. Some people are going around saying maybe it was TOO good. But is there really such a thing? I watched the hour long Sex and the City retrospective before the show, and some of the things that happened in the finale harkened back to the earlier days of the show. So I enjoyed the feeling that, at the end, we'd come full circle. And it was such a NICE circle.
That's all I'm saying.
Oh, wait, that's not important enough? What do you want me to talk about, Ralph Nader? Please.
How about the mail? I'm still getting an awful lot of it about that Mediator 6 sneak peek. I don't know how to break this to you, but that book isn't coming out for ten months. I can't post any more sneak peeks for a while. Because if I keep posting them, it won't be long before I end up posting the entire book. And then no one will buy it and my publisher will get mad and take this blog away. AND I CAN'T HAVE THAT. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
Another thing: Those recipes in “Boy Meets Girl”? They are real recipes. I got them from Michele and my friend Beth, both of whom bake. They totally work, as one dedicated reader, “AM”, who made me an excellent batch of the chocolate chip and
ginger snap cookies for my birthday, can attest.
And just to clear up some confusion, my books have different publishers, and therefore different release dates, all over the world. In some countries, my books are released before they are released in the US. I really can't help that—no author can. So it is unfair of you to write to me and yell at me for it. If you are confused by the titles/release dates on this site because they don't jibe with the titles/release dates in your own country, check this alternative site—www.megcabot.co.uk—or check with the site belonging to the publisher of whatever edition of my books you own. This is my US publisher's site, which is my primary site, because I live here. But your own country's publisher might have a site of its own.
One last thing regarding the mail: While I totally understand the fact that your teachers are loading you down with homework, and you don't have a lot of time to finish your book reports, please stop emailing me and asking me questions that you are CLEARLY supposed to be answering yourself, such as what social impact I think my books have had on modern civilization. #1, I don't know, and #2, your teacher assigned this question to YOU to answer, not ME! I'm DONE with school! I graduated! I should have not to answer questions like this!
Also, what if you had chosen Charles Dickens to write your paper on? Were you expecting to email him and ask HIM what social impact he thinks his books have had on modern civilization? Don't you see how unfair it is to write to me, expecting me to answer this for you, when other students, who chose dead authors, can't do this?
AND CAN'T YOU SEE I'M MUCH TOO BUSY BLOGGING TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK?
Wow, I feel much better now. Reading over this, I can see that I really don't have a blogging problem at all. I mean, ultimately, I am not powerless over my blog. I can choose to blog or not to blog. And today, I choose to blog. Tomorrow, I might not. Tomorrow, I might actually work on the book I have due.
Unless something totally dishy happens on Seventh Heaven tonight….
Ha, just kidding. I don't watch that show anymore.
Now, Charmed, on the other hand…..
Okay, have to go, look for the Big New Advice Blog with a Special Crush Edition later on this week.