Friday, February 13, 2015

When It's Out Of Your Hands

Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a focus on youth and young adult ministry. For more about Shan, check out her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

For the past two years, I've had the privilege of teaching a mentoring class at a local charter school. Every Friday for ten weeks I get to stand up in front of junior high and high school writers and for one hour we talk about writing fiction.

It's one of my absolute favorite things to talk about. Teen writers always have such an important take on stories. They are rarely opinionless when it comes to fiction and I'm so glad because I'm the exact same way. Feelings abound!

But, over the course of a few months, we only have ten hours to chat. There's a limited amount of material that can be discussed in such a brief class and I find myself frantic at times wishing I'd told them this and told them that and WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER THINGS!?

In an effort to stifle my own panic, I asked a bunch of my friends in the industry to email me their very best advice for my teen writers. I compiled all the advice into one document and whenever I part ways with a class, I do so by giving them the handout.

The very last piece of advice on the handout is from me. Here's what it says:


I'm in one of those places where I lack control over a portion of my journey. My manuscript is in someone else's hands and I'm waiting. Again. It really never ends, you guys. There's always the wait. But, I'm learning--always learning--that I can still function in this place. I can still write. I can still tell stories and be confident that while my next step isn't clear, things are happening behind the scenes. Things I can't see. And even if things don't turn out the way I hope, no one can stop me from telling another story.

It's a simple reminder--I know it is--but I needed to hear it today. I needed to remember that I believed the advice I've given others. Maybe some of you needed to hear it today too. If so, know you're in good company. 

Take a deep breath, settle into that chair, and write. Your stories matter.

24 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the advice! You're right, no one can stop us from telling stories. Stories and whole worlds live within us, and I can't stop telling mine. That is probably one of the best things about writing; the stories.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm learning that I am in control of what I write! So inspiring!!! :) I am in control of my time - so I can write

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, this was so inspiring! Even though reader's like and publication are out of your hands, don't stop telling stories. Because if you are the one that loves your story, that's all you need to write it. Thank you so much! Very encouraging. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is just what I needed today. :) Thank you, Mrs. Dittemore.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is so true, Shannon! What great advice. I'm so glad you're writing while you wait. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think I need to put this up on my wall! Thank you so. so much. =)

    Deborah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all need to be reminded at times. Me especially.

      Delete
  7. Just what I needed to see today. Thank you so much. =)

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a great post :)

    If you're getting your edits, I hope there isn't too much! (Only *if* you are though).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Edits are coming. I'm just sure of it! But I dig this part. Edits are my fave.

      Delete
  9. This is amazing advice!! Thank you, Shannon. :) It reminds me of the serenity prayer:
    "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is really inspirational, and totally helped me today. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is so true, Shannon, and not only in writing. Especially in the publishing industry, there is so much that is out of our control. We can't make people accept our writing or buy our books, so the only thing we can do is try our best. And eventually, that usually pays off at some point.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You're right! These things are absolutely applicable in so many areas.

    ReplyDelete

Home