Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Life as a YA Writer

A few weeks ago, I subscribed to daily emails that detail the latest in YA fiction. Well, this has led me to some good news and some bad news.

The good news: I am not alone in my passion. My passion to write YA fiction happens to be fairly popular among people my age, and they just so happen to have blogs that are quite similar to mine. Blogs that I have been long searching for—when it rains, it pours—I have discovered them. Lots of them.

The bad news: I am not alone in my passion.

Let me explain. In this daily email, there was a comment on a new book coming out this spring called Divergent, written by a young author named Veronica Roth. The email equated her upcoming novel to The Hunger Games, which in my opinion is a very popular and fantastic book. So, when clicking on Veronica Roth’s blog (http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/), I did not expect to find—myself (aside from the published novel of course). I found Veronica Roth, a young graduate of North Western University, a girl with a passion for YA fiction, a Christian, and a Chicago citizen. 

From Veronica came a whole slew of various other blogs, all with similar individuals. Young girls with great imaginations and clever witticisms about the reality inside their minds. Young girls, just—like—me.

And instead of getting encouraged by this, I felt my hopes and aspirations begin to plummet. I realized that maybe I am not creative and maybe I have no talent. What is to set me apart from all of these young girls writing fantasy novels with love, adventure and clever dialogue?

Then I read a bit further. That sense of utter discouragement began to wane as I realized that many of these girls with the blogs are actually seeing their dreams come true. Some of their books are actually being published. And many of them started exactly where I started—with NaNoWriMo. Just girls who one day had a dream to write a novel, and so committed themselves to a month of blood and sweat poured out into the artistic word. 50,000 words later, they had novels. And some more blood and sweat later, they were on their way to a real book. Printed on paper. With a book jacket. And a copyright.

And then I realized something. Reading about books that are finding their way to publishing would only cause jealousy and envy for one reason, I too hope to see my book one day with a cover and a title, on the bookshelf at Barne’s and Noble. I want to look over at someone on the El and see that they are reading my story.

It is crazy that this little hobby that I did to kill time while Roommate cousin studied for the CPA, has turned into something that I want to become more than just a little hobby. When thinking about my future these days, it has become increasingly hard to say what I want to do. I know I want to write. But, for some reason I think that this is an aspiration that can never be. Why would I ever be so lucky to make my career something that I actually love? Not to mention that it is one of the most vulnerable jobs. To write is to put a little bit of one’s soul down into words for others to read. For others to pass their judgments and make their critiques. And it would be this fact alone that would keep me from following my passion. My fear of what others will think of me. My fear of failure.

After reading these blogs today, I opened up my own novel, took one look at it and thought to myself—I will never make it; this is crap. But then I made some hot cocoa, lit some candles, and wrote this post.

More or less, I gave myself a pep talk. And I wound up telling myself that I will fail, if I don’t believe in myself that is. Because if I don’t believe in myself, I will never try. And the act of never trying is the most catastrophic failure you can make.

These girls with their blogs and their books, they made the effort, they tried. And in the end—their hard work and their willingness to put themselves out there—well, it paid off.

So, I need to stop the self-depreciating act, get over my insecurities, and dive back in. NaNoWriMo has only two more days, but the intense novel writing does not need to end there. One day I will have a finished novel. Who knows what will become of it, but for now, it just needs to be written. 

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