If you’re a writer, you know that the writing life isn’t easy. Sometimes it seems like it’s all shiny new ideas, everything’s going great, and you race to the keyboard, eager to get the word on the page. Sometimes, though, you drag yourself to the keyboard, prepared to slog your way through the seemingly unending mess that you’ve penned, despairing that you can improve.
Times like that second example, you need people. People to remind you that you’re not alone. People to inspire you. People to wrap their arms around you and convince you again that you’re going to be okay. People to remind you that the lies you’re starting to believe aren’t true.
Jenna Terese recently contacted me about Project Inspire- the blog tag that she created to provide inspiration to writers and thank the people who have loved and inspired them. Reading others’ Project Inspire posts have been so amazing and encouraging to me, so I can hardly wait to jump right in!
1. Thank and link back to who’s blog you first saw the tag on; link back to the creator of the tag. Thank you so much, Jenna!! (Jenna contacted me about her Project Inspire post, and she was also the creator of the tag 🙂 )
2. Answer the questions given (when you mention a person in your answers, link to their blog/website if they have one)
3. Include 5 of the biggest things you’ve learned about writing, and how they’ve changed you.
4. Don’t tag anybody. Anyone who sees this post can take part! I hope you do. 🙂
Now, here are the questions!
01. Who’s someone who’s inspired and motivated you to pursue writing?
So many people have been so inspirational to me to pursue my love for writing! First of all, my parents were (and are) my biggest fans. They read my writing, search for ways and resources to help me grow, and tell me that my writing is good, even though I don’t always think that. They were some of the first people to follow my blog. And most importantly, they point me to God, always. Thanks, Mom and Dad. I love you.
Second, April at my church is so amazing. Her passion for Jesus is contagious, and she always makes sure to encourage me to keep writing. From sending me cards of congratulations to commenting on posts, she has been one of my biggest encouragements. Thanks, April, for loving on me and being such an inspiration. ❤
My grandparents are also so supportive and tell me that they love seeing my writing. And the team of lovely ladies at Go Teen Writers (YA authors Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, and Shannon Dittemore) are so good at what they do-encouraging and teaching young writers. 🙂
But God is the One I ultimately have to thank. He gave people the gift of creativity, and I want to use it to honor Him.
02. Who encouraged you when you felt like giving up?
My parents haven’t let me give up, always being excited for me when I get published or enter a contest, and the Go Teen Writers community is so encouraging in helping me to keep writing.
03. Was there a person (or even a blog post) that came at just the right time to give you the boost or motivation when you needed it?
Oh…wow, there have been so, SO many. I can’t think of them all. And they just keep coming. I’ll mention Go Teen Writers again for the concise, motivating posts. Also, many of my blogging comrades have had great posts on writing and the writing life that inspire me and make me want to get back to the keyboard: Jenna, Merie, Penny, Jane Maree, and many more. Thanks, guys. 🙂
04. Who’s always been there for you, through thick and thin with your writing?
My family, absolutely. They love me unconditionally and get so excited for me when I enter a contest, send in an article to a magazine, or simply publish a new blog post. 🙂
05. Who’s helped you make your writing better, wasn’t afraid to give you honest feedback, and helped improve your craft?
My parents for sure. They read my writing and provide helpful edits.
06. Who’s given you doses of healthy laughter that brightens your day and brings a smile to your face?
Penny at A Southern Belle With Stories To Tell uses GIFs and memes in the perfect way to make me laugh and grin so hard. She is a wonderful person with a lovely heart, and I enjoy reading her blog so much. Thank you, Penny! 🙂
07. What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Just one?? There are so many inspirational quotes that I’ve come across recently that have been great! Here is one that I recently encountered and love:
“Don’t give up. If God has put within you the passion to write, then you can’t give up. Don’t lose sight of the message that God has given you to convey. If God has really called you to pursue this dream, you have no choice but to continue.”-Bryan Davis
08. Is there someone you just want to take a moment to thank, for anything?
Haha, I already thanked many of the people who have been the biggest influences on me. But I can never thank them enough.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for your support and helpful edits. I really do appreciate the edits, even though I have a hard time accepting them sometimes. I love you.
Thanks for following my blog, Grandma and Grandpa, and reading my writing. I love you!
Thanks, April, for getting so pumped up for me and encouraging me to never stop writing. You’re the bomb-dot-com. 🙂
A huge thanks to all the amazing authors out there who write amazing stories, and thanks to the people dedicated to helping us young writers thrive and grow.
Finally, but most importantly, thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of creativity. Please help me to use it to always honor You, not bring attention to myself.
09. What author and/or book inspired you to write better stories and motivate you to strive to give your message to the world?
Again, how can I name just one of the many wonderful authors who have inspired me with their tales of beauty, hope, and courage? I’ll name some of my all-time favorite authors:
Gillian Bronte Adams gives me such inspiration. Her stories (The Songkeeper Chronicles) fill me with joy and are tales of healing, courage, and hope. Her love for her writing and for Jesus are so contagious and inspire me to share my story. Also, her writing is just so beautiful. 🙂
S.D. Smith writes wonderful stories (The Green Ember series and the Tales of Old Natalia series) that are full of hope and healing in the midst of turmoil. Who knew rabbits with swords could be such great protagonists (and antagonists) in a fantasy story? 🙂
Andrew Peterson has such an amazing series of books (The Wingfeather Saga) that combine fun, danger, humor, and emotion in a perfect blend. I love them, and Mr. Peterson is an amazing writer.
Wayne Thomas Batson was one of the fantasy authors (besides Tolkien and Lewis) who really started to make me love the fantasy genre with his The Door Within trilogy. His stories are wonderful, fun, and full of spiritual truth.
And, of course, C.S. Lewis’ and J.R.R. Tolkien’s books were my earliest encounters with fantasy. I remember snuggling up on the couch or in bed and hanging onto every word when my parents read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings to me. Those series remain some of my all-time favorites. I dream of writing stories with themes as rich and characters as memorable as those beloved tales.
10. What piece of advice do you want to give to other young writers?
I don’t have a jaw-dropping, super insightful piece of wisdom for other writers, seeing as I’m still learning a TON myself, ALL THE TIME. But one thing that I want other writers to know is this: Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re seeing the product of lots of work and sweat. Your first draft isn’t going to be perfect, and THAT IS OKAY. Write what you love, and others will love it, too.
Five things I’ve learned about writing…
- Your first draft will not be perfect. I know, we all have that dream of having a never-ending stream of ideas and producing a beautiful, tight, perfectly-written first draft that all publishers and readers will immediately love. That’s not the truth. *Sigh* It’s a hard truth, but it is true. And it’s okay that your first draft isn’t perfect because it leaves room for improvement. As I’ve heard from lots of authors, you can’t edit a blank page. All those novels we love started out as imperfect, messy first drafts. But the authors didn’t quit, and we wouldn’t have those stories we love if they had.
- Comparison won’t get you anywhere. I read novels and sometimes (okay, often) think, “Wow, I could never write as well as that. Might as well not even try.” NO, NO, NO, stop that line of thinking RIGHT. THERE. Care most about what God thinks, not what other people think. Write what you love. God will use your writing for amazing things. Don’t get caught in the comparison trap.
- Writing is hard. Writing is not easy. At all. It can be a lonely journey. That’s why I’m so thankful for the people in my life who want to see me, and other young writers, succeed. Writing is hard, but it is a beautiful thing to see worlds and characters spill from your imagination and capture your heart. Writing is hard, but it is rewarding, too.
- Constructive criticism is meant to help you. Yes, receiving criticism is hard and can feel like a stab to the heart. But it is meant to help you. When you ask for it, expect to receive tips that you can use to grow. I’m still growing in accepting criticism. I don’t have a magic formula to make accepting the grow part of a “glow and grow” easy, but it is going to help you.
- Your perfectionism is friend and foe. During your first draft, lock up your inner perfectionist in the deepest, darkest dungeon you can find and duct-tape their mouth. You can’t listen to them and experience constant setbacks in your writing just because you’re constantly going back and editing what you just wrote. Trust me, I know. I’ve done that. YOU. CAN. DO. IT. LATER. At the editing stage, when you’re truly ready to shine up your manuscript, release your perfectionist and embrace them. Edit that story to your heart’s content. But only after you’ve gotten the words on the page.
And that is Project Inspire!! Isn’t it such a wonderful project? Thank you so much, Jenna, for contacting me to do this. It was so good for me to reflect on how much the people in my life mean to me and how much I’ve learned. 🙂
All you writers who see this, this tag is open to you!! I hope that you do it. 🙂
So long until next time,