Essay

The Last Question I Expected to Hear

In this series apprentice, Imari Berry selects essays from Jessica Conoley’s archives.  Imari shares why the essay resonates with her as a newer creative, & Jessica’s original essay follows. I chose this essay because: Why do writers write? This question hit me in my gut and this essay makes me think about the reason I write. Sometimes there’s more than more answer and I’m figuring out mine with each word I write. Initial publication date: 9/15/2015 The Last Question I …

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SUPER SECRET LIBRARY DAY PART 2

In this series apprentice Imari Berry selects essays from Jessica Conoley’s archives.  Imari shares why the essay resonates with her as a newer creative, & Jessica’s original essay follows. I chose this essay because: OUCH! This essays shows that as much as someone loves writing it can hurt, especially when it comes to killing your darlings. I love happily ever afters, but times sometimes but not everything has a happy ending and that’s life. Initial publication date: 8/18/2015 Super Secret …

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Super Secret Library Day part I

In this series apprentice Imari Berry selects essays from Jessica Conoley’s archives.  Imari shares why the essay resonates with her as a newer creative, & Jessica’s original essay follows. Imari chose this essay because: “This essay is motivational in so many ways. Nothing like meeting the people you admire.” Initial publication Date: 7/21/2015 Super Secret Library Day-Part 1 You may remember My Great Escape a few weeks ago that ended at a super secret library event.  At that event the …

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Your Final Responsibility to Your Story: Creative Stewardship

Last week, Jane Friedman published my latest non-fiction article “Your Final Responsibility to Your Story: Creative Stewardship.” As writers, it can feel daunting, vulnerable, and impossible when we contemplate sending our own stories out into the world. So when end stage paralysis strikes you, it’s time to step away from your identity as writer, and into your role as creative steward. Creative stewardship fulfills our final responsibility to a story— placing it in the best position to connect with readers. …

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THE GREAT ESCAPE

In this series apprentice Imari Berry selects essays from Jessica Conoley’s archives.  Imari shares why the essay resonates with her as a newer creative, & Jessica’s original essay follows. Imari chose this essay because: “It’s so authentic and inspirational. It shows step by step how one’s dream can become reality.” Initial publication Date: July 7, 2015 The Great Escape 4/20/15-email from agent after reading my whole The Color Eater manuscript.  I’m super excited because I know an email like this means …

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2018 Best Reads

I read 80 books in 2018. Since my Goodreads goal was 75, that makes me pretty happy. By read, I mean all the way to “the end.” If I give up on a book it doesn’t count toward my goal. Sometimes, if I’m slogging through a book, guilting myself to get to the last page, I’ll ask one of my writer friends for permission to stop reading. For some reason that helps. I make a point to read outside my …

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I’m Going to Pavlov Dog the Crap Out of this Meditation Stuff

When I saw MEDITATION on the daily schedule at my writers’ retreat my first thought was: that hippy crap will never work for me. My brain runs one-million miles per hour with no exit ramps or stop signs. There is no way in hell I’d be able to sit and chant “ohm” for an hour a day without obsessing about how stupid ohm-ing was.  Luckily my judgy-brain continued down the one-billion mile per hour trail and flew by a reminder …

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100 Rejections. Let’s Celebrate.

I wrote this in 2016, when I was deep in the querying trenches trying to find the perfect agent. My work with YA4YA has me thinking a lot about that period of my life, because I’m trying to figure out the best way to mentor the authors I’ve decided to work with. I can’t say I’m nostalgic for querying.  I never want to have to go back to it, but there is something to be learned from all that rejection. …

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Life on Deadline

For me, the key to quality work on deadline is remove all decisions except the one’s that pertain to my scenes and characters. No real life decisions. No phone calls. No appointments outside the house. All of these things improve the likelihood of a successful day. My ground rules: 1) Recognize and appreciate the time away from the keyboard is just as important as the time in front of it. Took me a long time to learn this one, and …

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LitUP

It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m volunteering at a teen literary conference. I’m sitting at the book sales table talking to my new BFF, who’s name I can’t remember. The night before, she had asked about my shoes, “Were they comfortable when you got them?” In the midst of the very classy mixer, surrounded by very important people of all types, I delivered one of the most emphatic, “No”s of my life. “Oh good. I just got a pair and…” …

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