Monday, October 3, 2016

Why You Should Learn From Lots of People

Stephanie Morrill is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, which releases in February 2017. Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website.

89 of you bold writers entered the Go Teen Writers #WeWriteBooks contest. Jill, Shan, and I are SO proud of you. We have often submitted our work to contests or industry professionals, and we know how scary it can feel. Thank you for trusting us with your words. We don't take the job lightly!

We are taking a break so we can devote adequate time to judging the entries. We will be back Monday, October 17th.

If you don't already know this about me, I love podcasts. Recently, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts featuring prolific indie authors who release 3+ books a year. (Which I did in 2013 and thought I was going to die.) I also listened to a string of episodes that all happened to be about writing faster, writing more, and constantly putting out more content.



The result of hearing this message over and over for several weeks left me feeling pretty bad about myself. I've been working on the same book for more than a year. I caught myself thinking things like, "What's wrong with me that I'm not done yet?" And even reminding myself that I have three children—including a baby, and a kiddo with special needswasn't helping me to feel any better about my progress.

Then a week ago, I listened to an interview with Carolyn Mackler, a longtime YA author who's probably most well-known for The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things. She was talking about her most recent release, Infinite In Between, which is a big, complex novel. If I'm remembering the details right, it sounds like she completely rewrote the book two or three times before sending it to her editor, who told her, "You're getting closer." By the time she finally finished a draft that she was happy with, it had been three years of working on the book.

Again, I might be slightly off on the details, but the takeaway for me was that this professional writerwho has won awards,hit bestseller lists, and had loads of critical acclaimdidn't get the book right the first time, and she gave herself the time she needed to get it right.

Her words finally silenced that voice inside me that kept saying I wasn't going fast enough.

And it was a reminder how important and healthy it is to learn from a variety of sources. There's nothing wrong with having favorite writing blogs, podcasts, books, or teachers, but diversifying and hearing new perspectives can be exactly what you need.

With that in mind, here are a few websites you should check out if you haven't yet:

Writing Excuses: Jill, Shan, and I have all mentioned this one many, many times over the years. I highly recommend season 10, which is designed to be a "master class" kind of thing, taking you all the way through the process of writing a novel. I'm listening to that this month in prep for participating in my first NaNoWriMo!

Editor Says: Jillian Manning is an editor with Blink and she has great industry insights on her blog.

Jane Friedman's blog is one of only recently started exploring. If you're looking for more industry related articles, this is a great source.

Helping Writers Become Authors is another great, accessible craft blog. K.M. Weiland is also a great follow on Twitter.

Shan taught me about this one a few weeks ago: DIY MFA. From listening to that podcast, I found The Creative Penn which is more focused on the business piece of indie publishing.


We'll see you back here in two weeks!




14 comments:

  1. Thanks. This post was encouraging to me today! And ooh. You're participating in NaNo? It's fun, but lots of work. I wish you the best!

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    1. Yes, I'm a bit nervous about it! It't not really an ideal time ... but I have three kids. It's going to be A WHILE before a month feels "ideal" for writing 50k. We'll be able to cheer each other on :)

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  2. Okay, I needed this. I'm in the third complete rewrite of my novel, a story I started over two years ago, and I've been seriously wondering what's "wrong with me" that it's taking me so long to finish. I was seriously considering quitting the story and starting something else, but this reminded me that it's okay to take a long time on something. Especially if it's something I love and want to make GREAT. Thanks so much for the post.

    (Also--can't wait to see the results of the contest! :D Thanks so much for doing that too.)

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    1. Good for you, Catsi! Keep chugging along; I'm sure your book's going to be fantastic.

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    2. Catsi, I think we're in such a culture of wanting everything to be fun, fast, and easy. Even in the writing world, that seems to be the way we're trending. And I love writing fast, and some of my best stuff has been born out of days that I've written 10+k so I'm not knocking fast writing. But as the community focuses more and more on writing faster and getting more content "out there," it grows harder for me to feel confident in taking a long time on a book.

      I could go on forever about this :) But, yes. Stick with your book, and I think you'll be glad you did.

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    3. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll definitely keep working on my book. Maybe someday (though maybe not someday soon), it'll be on bookshelves. :)

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  3. Welcome to the NaNo family! It's a tough challenge, but so worth it!

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  4. Congrats on doing NaNo! And thanks for sharing these podcasts; they look super great.

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  5. Good luck on NaNo!
    Who else entered the contest?

    Kathleen

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    1. I entered the contest. I'm nervous about the results, but excited, too! Good luck on your entry, Kathleen!

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  6. I've been working consistently on one story for the past seven years. Talk about a slowpoke. I've had to rewrite it so many times, but in doing so, I think it's gotten a ton better, and it's taken a course I never expected it would. I have to keep reminding myself that each person has their own pace, though, and it's perfectly alright. Still, it helps to have someone else say it too. Thank you! :)

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    1. Wow...seven years? Talk about persistent. It sounds like you're really dedicated to the craft. Keep it up! By the time you get through with it, it will be worth every moment you spent on it.

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