Thursday, November 5, 2015

Loner in the Garret

Sometimes the very thing you need comes your way the very moment you need it.

I've been in a weird flux-y place lately when it comes to my work, grappling with how to balance promotion and business-related stuff, teaching and mentoring, traveling and speaking--

--with writing and reading and chatting with other writers and playing around with silly-but somehow deadly serious Filling the Well kinds of activities like riding a bike and tearing pages out of magazines and painting bad pictures and playing the piano and doing yoga and walking around the neighborhood with no apparent destination in mind.

Sometimes it's hard to keep your feet on the path--to remember what drew you to writing in the first place and to find, again and again, the resolve to keep going in a business that can often feel less like a community and more like a competition.

We need a book about this.

A few days ago my writer friend Jenn Hubbard reached out to say that she'd just published a book and would I mind sharing it. I said yes before I even knew what it was (I love Jenn's novels, especially Try Not to Breathe, which I devoured a few years ago and found that the story-- a boy recovering from a suicide attempt/a girl seeking to understand why her father committed suicide-- has stayed with me in a way that very few stories do.)

Jenn's new book is not novel. It's a book for writers and when she started telling me about it--what led her to write it and the kinds of topics it covers-- I knew it was just the book I've been searching for.

It's called Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion.

Here's Jenn in her own words with more:

Even before my first book came out—during the heady pre-publication days, filled with equal parts anxiety and excitement—I noticed how much it helped me to have a community of writers who were in the same boat. We celebrated good news and commiserated over bad news; we shared tips and compared experiences.

Writing is difficult enough—fighting with the inner critic, searching for fresh ways to say things, shaping a story that will be both interesting and meaningful—even without the pressures of publication. Publication amplifies the fears and joys. The highs get higher, and the lows get lower, when other people’s reactions and expectations are involved.

I found that the most difficult part of being an author was not creating stories, difficult as that was. It was staying emotionally grounded. It was having the self-confidence to keep writing. It was not feeling alone and despairing in the face of adversity.

My writer friends and I spent a lot of time just encouraging one another. You will get that revision done. You will figure out where the story needs to start. That one review will not destroy your career. You will find another agent. Yes, I’ve had that horrible thing happen, too; you’re not the only one.

Yes, you are good enough.

I use inspirational guides in my daily life. Why not have one for writers, I thought? A book full of the kind of pep talks that my writer friends and I share. A book that could provide an encouraging spark at the beginning of a writing session. A book that could remind writers that they’re not alone.

And so Loner in the Garret: A Writer’s Companion was born.

Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion, by Jennifer R. Hubbard: Inspiration and encouragement for writers. Covering topics as varied as procrastination, the inner critic, fear, distractions, envy, rejection, joy, and playfulness, it charts the ups and downs of the writing life with honesty, gentle suggestions, and a dash of humor.

To buy on Amazon
To buy at Barnes & Noble
For more on Jennifer R. Hubbard see


  1. Thank you, Jody--what a beautiful lead-in you gave me! I'm glad you found the book helpful.
    Happy writing!