Down with Wifi

internet distractions


I’m back on the Q&A kick and was moving down the line of your questions when I  noticed this one from Mandy.

Mandy says:

lisi, u always give the best advice. i need time management help! i always have a project a teacher gives halfway through the year and i do it completely last minute. its so hard! and i dont know how to eliminate distractions because research on the internet gets me to go to youtube or something and then im wasting one hour of my homework time!! any advice??

Mandy, you know just how to ask me for advice. I couldn’t pass up your question, mainly because I feel your pain with this one. The struggle is all too real. It’s gotten even harder to stay on target and keep procrastination at bay when a lot of what you’re doing in school (and as a writer) has you researching online. What I’m going to propose to you might sound preposterous at first, but bear with me. Let these marinate for a while and see if they’re things you can try out.

1) TURN OFF YOUR WIFI – That’s right. I said it. Go up to the wifi symbol in the upper righthand corner of your computer and click ‘off.’ This won’t be easy. Try it for twenty minutes at a time and see if you can make it without going into Internet withdrawals.
1a) If you truly can’t turn the wifi off because you need to do legitimate research AKA you’re so addicted the thought of breaking your wifi connection causes you to break out in hives, then get a program blocking app like SelfControl. This app is free for Macs and will allow you to block out any distracting websites (READ: YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK, TUMBLR) for set periods of time so you can get straight down to business without the constant itch to check your social media notifications. Have a PC instead of a Mac? There’s an option for that too. Go Cold Turkey.
1b) Turn your phone on silent and put it in a place you won’t constantly be checking it. Again, use the timer method by not letting yourself check texts and Instagram likes for 20 or 30 minutes until you can go a few hours without thinking of it.
1c) If neither of the above work, then take the old school route and do your research via books checked out from the library. Doing this has provided some invaluable research material for the Dirty Book Club that I’m currently writing.


2) GET CLEAR ABOUT YOUR DAILY GOALS – Whenever you sit down to work on a paper or a project, jot down specific goals you need to hit to complete it. Prioritize accordingly. The simpler the goals the better. It’s much easier to tackle smaller tasks like writing your thesis statement than to go head first into finishing a 15 page final paper.


3) DE-CLUTTER, REFLECT, REFOCUS – Take some time at the end of the night to clear all the clutter off your work space from that day so you can start fresh in the morning. Then think back on what you accomplished, what still needs some work and what you can do to hit your mark. By now, you’ll be on the right track.


I hope these tips help!




Clique Picks


Last week I asked you to tweet me some of the lessons you learned reading the Clique series. I asked you to make me proud and you didn’t disappoint. In no particular order, here are my top five favorite #CliqueLessons.

1) Hayley

It was my biggest insecurity in the past, but the Clique has taught me to never worry about my body image.

2) Twitter Claire

The Clique taught me that people like Claire Lyons have more strength than most people in the world.

3) Kimberly

I learned that sometimes the best friends come in unstylish packaging.

4) Kaitlyn

I learned that being in the “in crowd” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

5) Kathy’s is a three-parter but her lessons were so good I included them all. She learned…

If people don’t like you for who you are, they’re not right for you. Don’t ever change to suit them.

Wit and wisdom can take you a long way.

Never lose sight of the people who really matter to you.


Want to know what I learned from writing the Clique? Here are my personal top five #CliqueLessons:

1) People, regardless of age, connect with the idea of wanting to fit in.
2) Young adult readers are far more intelligent than most old adult readers assume.
3) True success comes more from knowing I’m connecting with an audience than the number of books I sell.
4) The fact that I can make myself laugh hysterically while writing is the coolest thing ever. Also the weirdest.
5) Stop a series when you feel like your characters have learned their lessons. If you keep going after that, you risk being known as the series that used to be good before it jumped the shark.

Now who’s learned from Pretenders?



Calling All Cliques

Claire is not excused

Massie Block doesn't speak loser

It comes with being a writer, or human, I guess. Some people get me, some don’t. Thank Gawd for those, like Alex, who do.

(Foul language has been censored for your reading pleasure)

Caroline says:

Lisi Harrison,
I would love to know what the f$*& inspired you to write these books for young girls. I read every single one in middle school and looking back I realize they were garbage for my mind. They put out the idea that materialism and expensive things make you cool and popular. They glorify bitchy behavior and in no way promoted love towards anyone. I remember thinking I would be respected and feared if only I saved up all my money to buy a Coach purse. It wasn’t until later that I realized that people respect you when you are confident, empowered, and show genuine love for all other people. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the people that never grow out of the petty ideas spread from your books. I am so glad I have now discovered feminism and all the girl love that exists out there. I only wish those ideas would spread to the younger girls, instead of the catty bulls#*& ideas pf competitiveness and hate reinforced by books like yours and other media. I just want to know what you think you are doing for girls who read your Clique books.

Here’s what Alex said in response:

Alex says:

While you make some very valid points here, I think it is equally important that we observe the importance of parental guidance. A book series should never be where you learn how to be a young a woman. These books are meant for entertainment purposes, not learning valuable life lessons.
And while bitchy as she may be Massie did have some great qualities that maybe you should have taken notice of, rather than her money and clothes. Massie was headstrong, and determined, and if her mother and father had found a productive way to focus that energy she’d have been better off.
The Clique is a clever, witty, and extremely addictive book series, yes. The main character is very ill willed and immature, yes. It focuses on material things a lot, yes. But it is a BOOK, not a guide. It is well written and funny as hell. If what you needed growing up was a role model, you’d been better off reading the Hunger Games or Uglies. Do not harp on Lisi for writing this book, it was not meant to teach girls how to be justified in their self worth. But rather to paint a picture of an extreme situation.
Again, I get where you’re coming from. I ABSOLUETLY understand what you mean here. But, let’s put blame where it due.


I ah-dore Alex’s reply. She kept it classy, articulated her point of view, and did it in a respectful way. This is a moment when I’m so proud of the Clique fans who read my books and stand by their central messages.

My point in writing the Clique was not to glorify hate and competitiveness and superficiality among girls, as Caroline said. Rather to satirize it and show what real strength is though characters like Claire and Layne.

And I feel compelled to mention that not a single one of my 31 books uses the f-word, bs, or bitchy so I can’t take all the credit for Caroline’s outpouring of “girl love.’ Instead of me spelling it out, I’d love to hear what all the Clique fans reading this right now have to say.


Tweet what you learned from the series to @LisiHarrison #CliqueLessons. I’m looking forward to reading your tweets!






I had an interesting request in my Facebook inbox yesterday, one nobody in their right mind would pass up. Julia from Brazil asked if I would be a part of her large-scale scavenger hunt. How large scale? She explains it like this:

“This year I’ve joined G.S.H.W.H.E.S., which stands for The Greatest Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. And the reason I’m here writing you this is because my team really needs your help. One of the tasks is to get a NYT best-selling author to read the “California Driver Handbook – Laws and Rules of the Road” dramatically in a video. It doesn’t have to be the entire text, just a section. We would be eternally grateful (!!) I really hope you can help us, if not, you’ll still be one of my favorite authors.  Thank you for your time. – Julia”

You all know by now I’ll do anything for my fans. Press play on the first recording and then click on the video of my dramatic reading below.

I hope this helps and GOOD LUCK!!!

Have a weird request for me? Send it to me Facebook inbox along with your #wearepretenders confessions. I’m loving what you’ve submitted so far.