Heya, TWNers! Wow, I can’t believe that this is the last post in our Teen Writers’ Rally. The last two weeks have just flown by!! So because of that I have a couple of things I need to go over!
- If you’ve been following us every day, you may have noticed that we didn’t get a post yesterday. We apologize that we didn’t have Melanie Cellier’s interview yesterday. She has been very busy, and so the interview will be delayed. But we will be getting that to you as soon as we can, though I can’t say exactly when as of right now. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
- Entries for the giveaway will be closing soon as we reach the end of the rally. If you haven’t entered or want to get in your extra entries, you have until midnight EST tonight to comment and answer the giveaway question for it to count as an entry. However, because this post is going up late, for THIS post only, you have until tomorrow night, Sunday Nov. 6, midnight EST, for your comment on this post to count as the entry. So if you want in on a pretty awesome giveaway, now’s the time to catch up on posts!!! To enter the giveaway for this post, make sure to comment afterwards and let me know: What’s your greatest writing goal?
- The winners, who will be chosen at random drawing, to the giveaway will be announced at the beginning of TWN’s next post, Friday, Nov. 11th, and will the be notified via the email you comment under. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize. Three winners will be chosen.
- I want to say a THANK YOU for joining us in this first ever rally!!! Y’all, you guys just made this far better than I was anticipating!!! The response was wild, and I cannot say a thank you enough for coming alongside, joining the rally, and for all the support you give to this site. I truly believe TWNers are the best community of writers out there!!!! *high fives all around* And because of y’all’s excitement and support, I am SO thrilled to announce, that I do plan to do this again in the next Preptober season!
- I know I’m slightly behind on comments, but I plan to have them all up by the end of this weekend. Thank you. =)
Well, like all good things, there comes the time of its end. You guys have truly made this the best writers’ rally EVER, and I have enjoyed reading y’all’s comments and spending this time with you. If you are doing NaNoWriMo, I want to wish you the best of luck!!! If you found us during the rally, I want to extend a personal invitation for you to join the TWN community. The posts these last two weeks is just a glimpse of the support, encouragement, and advice we give here for writers, whether you’re young in age or in heart. We post every Friday (at least, we try to) with a new writing post, and we encourage you to subscribe to Teen Writers’ Nook via email to receive a notification for ever new!!! (Form can be found to the right if on a computer or at the bottom of the page if on a mobile device.)
Alright, though the rally is drawing to a close, it’s not over yet! I have one more post to give y’all, so enough announcements, let’s jump right on in!!!
When we think of a writer’s success, we’re usually picturing Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities series or the extraordinary movie adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. If you’re like me, you’re really just thinking about all the amazing books on your shelves and the gifted writers who created them, but that didn’t sound as awesome for the opening of the post.
Either way, our idea of success, if we’re being real with ourselves, is never something we can hope to achieve. But still we dream. If I can just get publish… if I can just be a bestseller… if my book can just win an award… if it can just get a movie adaptation, then maybe I’ll be a great author. Maybe, just maybe, I can defeat every lie of this “starving artist” idea and be successful. Deep down, I am sure none of us have ever lived a moment when this thought hasn’t at least crossed our mind. Isn’t that what all artists want? But what if we’ve been thinking about this all wrong?
What if, you’re already a successful author right now?
I know what you’re thinking. Um, Issabelle, this is just going to be one of those cliche posts about chasing after your heart’s dreams and you can do anything you set your mind to. Blah, blah, blah. We’ve been there and heard it all, and the problem is, those words might sound nice, but we can’t chase the thoughts of what if they aren’t true? What if it just doesn’t matter? What if I’m wasting my time?
I know, because I’ve heard every doubt. I’ve believed every doubt. And I let every doubt stop me. But you know what? This is my declaration to say no more, and I hope, dear readers, that it will be yours, too. Because this is the thing, that doubt is only as true as you allow it to be.
Let me back up.
Hi, readers. I’m Issabelle Perry. If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know all about my chocolate-obsession, prone to insanity, and exclamation mark overuse. If you haven’t, count yourself as one of the blessed. I’m a historical fiction novelist, a co-editor of two anthologies, a college student, a blogger, and usually known for my work done here at Teen Writers’ Nook.
Oh and a Skillet Panhead, but that’s a topic for another time. But most of all, I’m a writer just like you. I’m still trying to figure out my way in the world, I’m still searching for the path my writing journey will lead to, and most of all, I’m a girl who at 12 years old had completed her first novel with big dreams and even bigger plans to accomplish them. And then I learned how hard writing is. Then I realized how hard publishing is. And then I determined it was just easier if I gave up right now and go back to when my only problems was trying to remember how to spell “decide.”
Long story short, it took over five years and nearly five novels later before I realized that I was chasing my writing dreams the wrong way this whole time. Reader, you don’t have to have all your dreams figured out right now. You’re allowed to change your genre, try out new styles, write a couple of short stories if 50K is too daunting of a number. You’re allowed to mess up.
You’re allowed to fail.
See, I’ve had in my mind every year since I finally took my writing seriously at 15 years old, that there was no room for failure. If I mess up just once, that’s it. I’m done, my writing career is over, and I will never be that “successful author.” And because I set unrealistic expectations on myself, it wasn’t long before I became highly discouraged.
You know what our problem is, dear reader? Our problems is that we’re comparing ourselves to our favorite authors. We’re taking our messy first drafts and trying to match them up to a completed and polished published novel! We’re taking the first steps of our journey and comparing it to our favorite author’s final steps. We’re too busy trying to be a completely different author, that we’ve forgotten to just be a writer. And we do this in different ways. We’re either aiming for perfection that we never give ourselves room to grow. Or we’re so caught up in the writing standard and rules that we never let ourselves create a masterpiece outside of the lines. We’re too focused on moving forward, we miss the view of where we are right now.
I am here to take that pressure off you. Right here, right now. Because somewhere along the way, we forgot that this was supposed to fun. This was supposed to be our writing, not the publishing industry. It was supposed to tell the story we had on our heart to create, not the one that is the easiest to sell and market. Earlier this year, I almost stopped writing. I had grown so unsatisfied with the work I was creating, that the idea of just walking away from it all grew so tempting to where I nearly did just that. I actually told Kat I was done with writing for good. And you know why? I was so caught up in trying to write a book I could sell to a publisher, a book an agent would want to represent, that writing was something I hated, not enjoyed. It was all about pleasing the audience, and not the desire to create this tale. It was about being “successful” that the stories I wrote, yeah, they might’ve been marketable books, but they didn’t have any meaning. They weren’t real, because they didn’t have a piece of my heart embedded within, like all good stories do.
So I stopped writing. For almost a full month.
And then it happened. This new story idea hit, and I immediately rejected it. It was a new genre, a new style, it wasn’t a story anyone would ever want to read. It wasn’t a unique idea or an outstanding tale. But I couldn’t help it. My heart was quickly falling in love, and there was no hope to ever forget about it. For the first time in years, I had to write this story, and I knew since I could never sell it, I would only write it for myself. That story became Project: Defender (real title to be revealed).
We would be here forever if I began to tell you half of what has happened for the rest of the year, but to sum it up, I found my center again. I rekindled my love for writing. I wrote the book I wanted to write, the book I needed to read, and I intend to sell this book to a publisher. I intend for it to sit on bookstore’s shelves and be read by hundreds of readers. Yes, that dream sounds outlandish, but it’s no longer a dream. It is my goal. Because this is the story of my heart, and I have to share it. And you know what? Those are the stories worth writing and sharing to the world.
I will let you in on a secret. That day when I chose to write Project: Defender. That day, I became a successful author.
You’re probably scratching your head right now. I know you are, dear reader. You’re thinking, Issabelle, you’re not a successful author. You haven’t even sold this novel, much less made thousands of bucks from it! Successful? Yeah, right.
In the rest of the world’s eyes, you’re absolutely right. I am not successful. But I’m redefining success because, reader, it’s not about the money or the fame or just feeling good. It’s not about having that number one fan or even to get to hold the book you have given all your blood, sweat, and tears for. It’s about writing the story God has given you, it’s about pushing through every long and hard night. It’s about telling that story you don’t want to write, the one you’re afraid to create because you will bleed so much of your heart onto the pages, that every rejection will cut deeper than a blade ever could. It’s about stepping out of this tiny comfort box we’ve built for ourselves, and writing a book that is hard. One that doesn’t fit the standards and will challenge the world to see life differently.
A book that is bold, courage, and unashamed of the God you write for.
I became a successful author, because the day I decided to write Project: Defender, I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own. I was not qualified to write such a story, so completely different from anything I had ever written before. I was scared, worried, that’s why I didn’t say a word about this WIP here until four(ish) months after I had finished the first draft and was nearly finished with the second. But I gave the book, this crazy story, to God, and I realized that I had gotten so caught up in writing a book worthy to sell, I forgot Who I was writing for. Whether your a Christian or not, if you forget the center, the foundation, the reason why you’re writing this book, then you must find your way back, because without that foundation, why are you even here? Why are you even reading this or doing NaNoWriMo or writing a novel? Why, dear reader?
Find your purpose. Write the story on your heart. And you will be more than just a successful author. You will be the author you were always meant to become.
I challenge you right here to write that story you’re scared to write or take that next step you’re terrified to do. I challenge you the same time I’m challenging myself, because the next steps for me to take are very scary ones for me. But they’re the ones worth taking.
So, dear reader, pick up your pen. Open your computer. Flip through that notebook. Write that next word. And know no matter what you feel like or the world says, right now, I see you as a successful author. Which means you have only one choice:
A Fellow Novelist