Friday, January 17, 2014
RELAX! And enjoy being a writer
Hi, everyone! I’m excited to join Go Teen Writers today because, until recently, I was a teen writer myself. (I even won one of the GTW first-line contests a couple of years ago!) So, in writing this post, I am confronted with the question, what would I have wanted to know during my teen writing years? Now, looking back on middle school and high school, my answer is…RELAX! I spent my teenage years writing two novels, researching agents, reading industry blogs, and worrying about my future as a writer. All of these activities proved extremely helpful—except the worrying. Instead of wasting my energy on anxiety, I should’ve tried to enjoy the process more. After all, being a writer is entirely about the process, not the result.
By the time I turned 18, I was having a life crisis, as melodramatic as that sounds. It seemed that my writing, researching, and planning wasn’t getting me anywhere, and I was about to start college. Under the (mistaken) impression that college is where people get their lives together, I decided it was time to let go of my childhood ambition of publishing a novel and choose a more “practical” career path. Just as I decided to give up, a couple of incredible things happened. First, I was awarded a full scholarship to attend a writing conference five minutes from my house. Next, at that conference, the first chapter of one of my novels ended up in the hands of Amanda Luedeke, literary agent extraordinaire. The final incredible occurrence? She loved it. So I went from giving up on my future as a writer to working with an inspiring, thoughtful, and hilarious agent. If I could go back, I would tell myself to stop worrying so much. Show up, give it your best, and things will happen or they won’t. You’ll end up a New York Times best seller, or you won’t. Either way, you will be happy doing what you love.
Now I’m curious to hear from you guys! Have you experienced a writer crisis like mine? What did you do to move past your doubts and keep moving forward?