Blog of the Week:
Author Carrie Jones says she started blogging "while I was a student to keep up with Sarah Aronson, Ed Briant, Bethany Hedgerus and so many other people who had graduated from Vermont College's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. It was very informal and mostly we all said, 'I miss you.' 'I miss you, too.' 'My narrative arc stinks.' 'Mine's worse.' 'Oh, yeah, my character is a one-dimensional stereotype.' "
Later editor Andrew Karre, then at Flux, acquired Carrie's first book, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend (a 2008 Cybil Award finalist). "He told me that I needed to have a blog, so my posts started to change a little bit. They morphed again when I was running for office. I just lost. It's hard to write posts from the point-of-view of your cat when you're a political candidate."
Things like featuring her cat as a guest blogger make Carrie's blog a pleasure to read. "Those kind of posts are for fun and they help me to take writing a little less seriously. It's hard to worry about the fact that I'll never be nominated for a National Book Award when I can make my cat talk about it instead," she says. "It's a way of processing, I guess. Plus, it's freeing. Your cat or your dog or John Wayne can say things I could never imagine saying. Recently, I had a blog post where John Wayne was telling me to stop worrying and just write some words. Somehow in that tiny blog post I realized: what it was I was worrying about; why I was worrying about it; that it wasn't actually a problem. John Wayne is magic like that." (See her book Girl, Hero for more John Wayne magic.)
Carrie's advice for keeping your blog entertaining, she says, would to be the same as her advice for writing:
- Just write and don't worry.
- If you want to write about a hamster falling in love with a lobster that's okay. Someone will think it's clever.
- Write the kind of blog you want to read. If that's clever, then go with that. If it's full of links? Do that. If it's all about you making dinner, that's good too.
- Pictures are your friends.
- Complaining ALL THE TIME is not always helpful, but it's ok to complain sometimes.
- Respond to comments and comment on other people's blogs. It's the nice thing to do. Your mom would be proud. Blogging is a kind of conversation and nobody wants to listen to one person talk the entire time unless, of course, that person is M.T. Anderson or Tim Wynne Jones.
Carrie's next book Need will released in late December from Bloomsbury. The cover is beautiful. Check it out.