Monday, January 8, 2018

In 2018, don't just write a book. Grow an author.

Stephanie Morrill is the creator of and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street (Blink/HarperCollins). 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, Instagram, and sign up for free books on her author website.

Hi, writers!!!

It's 2018! My holiday break was a mixed bag of the stomach flu, hanging with my dad during chemo, and watching my new Roomba vacuum my floors for me.

One of the very fun things I got to enjoy over the holidays was reading through the survey results and talking on the phone with Jill and Shannon about what 2018 looks like for Go Teen Writers. We have some exciting things planned!

First, here are the three winners of the 1,000 word critiques:

Melissa Gravitis
Bronwyn Lenz
Ashley Schaller

Congratulations! I'll email you all later today and get you hooked up!

Before we get into plans for this year, I thought you all might find some of the survey results interesting.

Staying motivated, editing, and first drafts were the top three issues for the writers who filled out the survey. The number one write-in response was finding time to write, followed closely by story middles and character development. We will address all of these in 2018!

The majority of you get psyched when you see that we're talking about characters. Which is good, because we love talking about characters! Plot was a close second, and then publishing stuff was tied with editing for third.

Some questions and comments I would like to address:

"The blog was orange?"

Yes! I think it was orange for all of 2010 and 2011 (which is approximately a thousand years ago in the blogosphere). Someone asked for a picture, and I thought I would be able to deliver, but I can't find a single one! I will keep looking and report back. (Update! Thank you Forest for finding this screenshot of our orange blog!)

"I love that you're trying new things, but the video format on a lot of recent posts really isn't working for me ... Maybe you could start having a transcript of the video, in the blog post?"

Sorry to hear it's not working. We're embedding from our YouTube channel, so maybe if you go directly there? We will try to do more summarizing of what we cover in the video in the actual post.

"This blog is my home page - that's how much I love it."

This delighted us. We were also strangely delighted by the comment someone left that their parents had blocked Go Teen Writers because of how much time their child was spending on it.

"Would you ever consider doing a writers conference?"

We get this question quite frequently, but I don't know that we've ever answered it publicly, so I'll do that here. We loooove the idea of a Go Teen Writers conference, and we talk/dream about it several times a year. Here are the hurdles we always bump up against:
  • Time. There are a lot of logistics involved in putting on a conference, especially one that's open to minors. Since we're all moms with kids at home, and we all have our own writing deadlines, this just hasn't been something we can tackle yet.
  • Location. Shan and Jill are in California and Oregon. I'm in Kansas City. There hasn't been an obvious place to hold a conference.
  • Time.
  • Time.
  • Time.
  • The time thing really can't be overstated.
Buuuut, we have talked about how we could maybe do a more casual kind of in-person writing workshop. A pop-up conference of sorts. Not sure when and where, but we'll keep you posted.

And this comment was greatly appreciated: 
"I've looked through a lot of writing blogs out there throughout the years, including one that always self promotes and sells workshops and such like every second. You guys have always been down to earth and kept information available to those of us who don't have a spare $300 dollars for a course that probably won't help. Go Teen Writers by far has THE most helpful writing articles I have personally come across."
We spent a lot of 2017 watching others make courses, membership sites, summits, and other things intended to both help people and make money. We also like helping people and making money, so we talked several times about doing something similar. We always landed on the answer, "No." That's not meant to judge other sites or writers who choose to create and sell that content, but we decided it wasn't the right thing for Go Teen Writers.

Eventually we might make video courses or host a conference, and we do intend to write another craft book over the next year or two, but we like the current mojo on Go Teen Writers. We don't want to peddle courses or workshops. We just want to hang out with you guys and talk about writing. 

If you feel the desire to financially contribute to any of us, the absolute best way to do that is to buy new copies of our books, pre-order them when that option is available, and leave reviews. Our desire is to be fiction authors who also blog, which is why the blog offers so much for free. By supporting our fiction writing goals, you help us keep Go Teen Writers a free resource for you and others.

Finally, a few surprises in the survey:
  • The outcry for another 100-for-100 challenge. We'll do one this summer!
  • The love for our Instagram account. Thanks!
  • How many teachers recommend us to their students! Thank you!
  • That boogers were mentioned...
  • That there weren't more random messages in the comments section. By the way, I also like chocolate cake. And hello, Hann. 

So. What about 2018?

Shannon said it first in her post Creating More Than A Story, that you're not just creating a story, but an author. When we looked over the survey results and talked about what's happening in our own writers' hearts, we felt this was an idea we wanted to explore more.

All three of us write very differently from each other, and in 2018, we're going to detail our process for you as step-by-step as we can. And we want you to write along with us! Whether you start fresh with a new idea, dust off an old one, or push on with your current work-in-progress, we hope you'll write along with us this year. We hope as we show you how we are growing as authors, that you will show us how you are growing as an author too.

We think it's going to be a fantastic year!

Do you have writing goals for this year? 


  1. I can tell this year is going to be exciting here! I can't wait to see what y'all write about.

    I loved reading the survey results. I would love to do another 100-4-100. I wasn't able to finish the last time I participated.

    Keep up your hard work! We young writers are so blessed to have your resource at our disposal. It was invaluable as I began to get serious about my writing. So thank you for all that you do.

    1. We're grateful to have you in our community, Sarah! And I have yet to complete a 100-4-100. Maybe this is my year!

  2. Ooh, I’m excited for the next 100-4-100 challenge. I’ve been hoping y’all will do another one of those!!!

  3. I'm sooooo happy to have you guys back! And I can't wait to see what this year will hold. My writing goal is to see my first book launch successfully and work with my editor my sequel. Plus I'd really like to write my Book Three, so...lots of goals for the year and I'm only a week into January! XD

    Congrats to the critique winners, and thank you Steph, Jill, and Shan for all you do for us teen writers. You are an INCREDIBLE blessing and a huge inspiration to me.

    P.S. A writing workshop sounds AMAAAAAZING!!!!!! I'll be there! ;)

    1. It's a big year for you, Taylor! We're happy to be a part of it!

    2. I'm so glad guys ARE a part of it, Stephanie! ❤️

  4. I am excited for the 100 for 100 challenge. I have heard about out a lot around the blogosphere, but I wasn't around GTW during the time it happened. This has be super excited!

    Go Teen Writers has been by go to for writing advice and has helped me grow so much as writer. I've met many great blogging friends on here that have been so encouraging.

    Congrats to all the winners of the critique!

    Thanks, Go Teen Writers for your helpful information. I can't wait to see what 2018 brings!

    As for writing goals, I have quite a few, but the biggest is I plan to self publish this summer! I'm super excited about it.

    Thanks for all the inspiration and helpful information! God bless y'all!


    1. Wow, Ivie! That's AMAZING that you're going to publish. I'm so excited for you. Keep us posted, okay?

    2. Thanks, Taylor. I will definitely be keeping everyone posted. I'm keeping updates on my journey of publishing over at my blog,

      Thanks for the support, that means so much, and good luck with your publishing. I'm so excited for you! <3

    3. Aw, thanks, Ivie. I'm following your blog now...can't wait to hear more about your journey!

      P.S. I love your profile pic! Did you draw it?

    4. Ivie, that's very exciting! Self-publishing (like all of publishing) is a difficult but rewarding journey. Thanks for bringing us along for the ride!

  5. Congratulations to the critique winners! Also, I'm super pumped for the upcoming year of GTW! As others have said, it's going to be a great year. :D

    My writing goals for this year are to
    1) Find my writing groove again--I sadly lost it after college, but I am writing 100 words a day to try to find it again.
    2) Attend Realm Makers
    3) Grow my freelance writing and editing business.

    Thank you guys for all you have done to grow me as an author!

    1. Finding a writing groove after a change in season is often very tricky. I hope our content this year will help you get back on track!

  6. Yay, you're back! I'm looking forward to an awesome new year. My goals are kind of vague, but mostly it's just keep on learning, keep on reading, and keep on writing.

    Last year I managed to get my rhythm going, this year I'm going to keep it, and see just how much I can improve.

    1. Gwen, I think goals that promote growth are the most fruitful!

  7. I am sooooo excited for 2018 and everything it will hold! This blog is golden and I keep tabs on it pretty much daily! It has held so many great tips for me and my writing. Thank you guys!!

  8. 2018 is going to be an AWESOME year!! My writing goals include:

    Writing a middle-grade novel (an audience I've never written for)
    Writing (and completing) the third draft of my WIP
    Learning how to work with an editor and other people who can read my books with a different set of eyes
    Polishing last year's NaNoWriMo novel
    Growing my blogging platform

    And that's pretty much it. I'm excited. :D

  9. Go Teen Writers was probably the first site that helped me get serious and grow in my writing, and I will never not be grateful for that. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a digital conference... ;)
    Ooh, I can't wait for a 100-4-100! Hopefully I'll have something to write to participate!
    My main goal for this year is to write a first draft, beginning editing, and possibly start outlining another book. I also want to study the craft as much as I possibly can.
    Looking forward to 2018's posts!

  10. I found orange GTW via the Wayback Machine!
    Here's the link, not sure how to format it as such.

    1. I can't remember when I started reading Go Teen Writers, but looking at the archived screenshots on that site, it must have been late 2013 or so.

    2. YES!!!! I'm delighted that you found this!

    3. Oh my goodness, that is orange. XD While the design has changed, the message is always the same. <3

    4. That's. Um. Different looking. It reminds me just how much I LOOOOVE this design. XD

      Actually, it wasn't nearly as bad as what I'd envisioned...and I agree with Ivie...the advice is always amazing!!

  11. Love Go Teen Writers and everything you do. :) I cannot wait to see what this year holds!
    My main writing goal for this year is to reach 100k words in my WIP, or finish the first draft (whichever comes first). This way I have a tangible number to reach to keep me from slacking off, since I'm not quite sure how long the book will be. I'm hoping that this goal will not only help me finish, but train me to have the discipline to sit down and write EVERY day. Again, thank you so much for all you guys do!

  12. Go Teen Writers literally changed my life. It made me believe that, even as a 15, 14, and 13-year-old, I could be a writer. Now, at 18, I still look forward to every post. I can’t imagine what my writing or my life would look like without this blog. Thanks for the encouragement and advice. Thanks for believing in us.

    This year, I’m going to finish the first draft of my WIP, edit that WIP, and make time for writing during the school year.

  13. I've been wanting to support what you guys do here for awhile, but this year I actually have the money to do that. Definitely going to buy some of your books!

  14. This is so exciting!! Some of this feedback is hilarious. Can't wait for this year!

  15. Looking forward to this year!! Love this blog - you've helped me and tons of other writers so much. Thank you for that, and I'm so excited for all the new stuff coming this year!!!

  16. I'm looking forward to keeping up on the blog throughout the year!
    My writing goals for the year include:
    1. Self-publishing two novels, two short story collections, and several individual short stories (eek!)
    2. Finishing a trilogy I'm working on and I'm super excited about (I wish there was a chance of it being ready to publish before 2019! I'm so excited to share it!)
    3. Winning all three NaNoWriMo events

  17. My goal is to manage my time better. My writing goals for 2017 were sort of realistic in the sense that if I had done nothing but write in my free time, I probably could have made them.

    BUT that didn't happen.

    So my goal this year is to plan on writing/editing less books, but to make sure I'm using my time wisely. No more goofing around!

    Seriously, you all are such a blessing and an encouragement. Not to mention an overflow of help and tips and advice.

    God bless!

  18. My writing goal is to participate in a 100-for-100 challenge, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it. ~Amanda

  19. I'm so excited for this beautiful new year of writing! One of my biggest goals is to finish my novel, Killing Snow, which currently only has half of the first draft done. But I'm working on it! Another goal is to (maybe) pitch a novel when I go to Realm Makers in July, but we'll see how that goes xD.

    Savannah | Scattered Scribblings

  20. Wow... I'm not sure what I think of the orange. I like it, but it was definitely different :D

    Love the idea for a gtw conference if that ever happened! Would it allow people who aren't teens to attend?

    That is certainly something I've loved about this blog, how I've been able to learn and grow without being pressured to buy. Even though I did eventually buy the book just because I wanted to :D

  21. My writing goals for 2018:
    ---Finish my draft - So, this one is kind of tricky now. I'm not sure if I'll finish my current one or start a new one. I didn't really let my thought settle into place on this one, I just sort of started writing. I've been thinking about maybe doing a realistic fiction about some of the experiences I've had in middle school(I'm writing those in my brand new blog so that writers who want to write about middle school and something unique can write something different. There's no bullying in my stories, and most novels about middle school are centered around bullying.
    I was also thinking about creating a futuristic ice age world, and now I'm really liking the idea of combining those two, which takes us into my next goal:

    -- Actually sharing this new one with anyone - Since this one I'm thinking about is so true and close to home, I'll have a little bit of trouble showing it to my parents. *sigh*

    Overall, I'm excited for this year!

    Bridget Swan |