I swear I racked my brain for some kind of advice to give you all this month. I was planning on writing something about setting up scenes or developing plots or editing dialogs, but then it all just seemed kind of boring. And since I am a rather sporadic person (hello--I am a teenager, after all), I decided to do something kind of fun and out of the box instead!
This incredible site is filled with so many amazing articles and suggestions every month, all of which are directed to teen writers. And I'm guessing that at least ninety-nine percent of you writers dream of one day being a published author. And that's when I figured--hey, since I already am a published author at age seventeen, why not give you a peek into what my life looks like?
It might be fun, and for those of you who don't follow my blog, you might learn a few interesting things about what it's like to be a teen author. ;) Um, okay... So what does being a teen author look like?
I write a lot.
Duh. But these was the first thing that came to my mind! I don't just write fiction, either. I'm constantly updating my blog, drafting guest posts for other blogs, and filling out paperwork and questionnaires from my publishers. But really, I do feel like I'm almost always working on first drafts, editing second drafts, or analyzing third drafts for the millionth time! It's all part of being a fiction writer.
I try to keep up with social media.
Which is really, really hard for me! Probably because I am an unsocialized homeschooler and didn't even have a Facebook until I was seventeen. But I try to maintain a funny, engaging blog with new content two to three times a week as well as a fan page on Facebook, a Twitter account, and a Youtube page where I can upload vlog videos of me talking about writing, my life, my books, and, occasionally, pie. ;) Videos take up a huge amount of my time, actually, so I sometimes have entire afternoons where I just do nothing but shoot video after video.
I run to my room and change my outfit and fix up my hair so that no one will be able to tell that I'm cheating, but it still ends up taking several hours to shoot just four or five videos.
I interact with my "fans".
I sometimes just call them my "readers", but hey, if you can get away with calling someone your fan, you should totally take advantage of that situation. ;) But seriously, I love hearing from the young people (and occasionally adults) who have read my books or blog and are just superexcited to share their hearts with me. I usually get two to three "fan" emails or messages a day, so I try to respond as promptly as possible. Because I have authors that I admire too, and I will be the first to admit that I have fangirled over them from time to time. (a.k.a. tweeting Shannon Hale or writing a two-page long letter to Katherine Paterson...)
I conduct interviews.
I have a fantastic publicist named Candice who sets up ninety percent of my interviews for me! Which means that just about every day I'm answering a dozen questions for some blog/magazine/radio show/newspaper/whatever. This actually used to be my favorite part of being an author, but I think that after a year or so the novelty has worn off and now I tend to take a bit longer to respond with my answers... A lot of the questions tend to be the same, and I hate for my answers to seem monotonous. That's why I love it when I get an off-the-wall question like, "Do you eat snacks while you write?" or "Who would you have play you in a movie version of your life?" My heart rate literally quickens when I read new questions. They are the fuel that keeps my fire going, day by day... (Obviously I'm being dramatic, you guys)
Sometimes, I even get to be on TV. Which is pretty cool.
I hold book signings.
I still love book signings. Because that's when I get to meet the majority of my readers face-to-face! And I can think of few things that thrill me more than getting to shake hands with a reader and hear her talk about how much she enjoyed my book. It just makes me smile ear-to-ear! In fact, by the time I'm finished with a book signing, my cheeks are usually more sore than my hand because I just smile so. much. Some are crazier than others, but if it's a small venue I can sometimes get a chance to talk to someone for several minutes and learn a little about their life! And then some have long lines and lots of people cramming around and it's just an adrenaline rush of signing, signing, signing. Which is fun, too, I must admit. ;)
I speak to groups of people.
It's a great opportunity to share what God has done in my life, offer some writing advice, and try to entertain people the best I can with little snippets of humor from my everyday life.
I travel to cool places.
I nerd out and goof around and always have fun with my job.
This is the most important thing. I try to stay under as little pressure as possible. I'm not the president, I'm just a writer, and my life reflects that! I still go to Barnes and Noble and take funny pictures in the YA Fiction section.
I carry huge boxes of books around and complain about how much my arms hurt. I poke fun at myself for being an author and pretend to guess the endings to cheesy Hallmark movies, shouting, "Oh my gosh, I should be a writer!!!" if I get the ending right.
At the end of the day, being an author is a huge part of my life, but it's just a small portion of who I am. I'm so happy with the life God has given me, and I realize that I am beyond blessed to be a teen author. But, honestly, it barely feels like a job at all. It's just an amazingly cool rollercoaster that I've been put on right now, and I'm just trying to enjoy the ride! :)
I'd love to answer any questions you might have about what it's like to be a teen author. Is there anything I've forgotten? Is there something you dream of doing if you become an author one day? I'd love to hear it! As always, you can check out my blog, like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @RachelCoker3!