Hello, my dudes and dudettes! How does it be with you peeps? I’ve got a special post for you bean boys and gals today.
A fellow and wondrous blogger, Jenna, created a very special tag of sorts to help and encourage writers all over the blogosphere. It’s called Project Inspire.
Lovely, much? It’s a mission to start spreading more encouragement and inspiration to other writers everywhere.
Which I completely love. The writer world is filled with rejection, heartache, critics, and much lonely sadness. But this tag is all about giving love and inspiring other writers to keep going!
And honestly, this is the perfect time for me to utilize this tag. I’ve been a little crusty lately (#whatelseisnew), mostly because it is hideously hard to work with other writers at times, and editing truly does suck. Project Inspire is all about talking about the people who made writing a GOOD thing to be in, not a regret.
SO GET READY TO BE SMOTHERED IN PENNYLICIOUS LOVE
But first, da rulez:
1. Thank and link back to who’s blog you first saw the tag on; link back to the creator of the tag. I found the original Project Inspire post on Jenna’s blog! Thanks for making this tag, girl. ❤
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 change you.
3. Don’t tag anybody
Meep! This is going to be so much fun! Let’s jump right in!
01. Who’s someone who’s inspired and motivated you to pursue writing?
A lot of people don’t know this, but it was actually my dad. ❤ Up until I was fourteen, I had never attempted to write a true novel, and had never considered it either. I had written some stories for school, but even those never left a particular imprint on me.
One fateful day, my dad and I were coming home from a grocery shopping trip. And then, out of the complete blue, he said,
“You know, I think you would enjoy writing novels.”
And to my dad’s brilliant and life changing suggestion I replied,
I had always despised writing English papers and essays (NOTE TO ALL YOU BEANS CONSIDERING WRITING BUT YOU’RE NOT SURE: Please don’t assume since you hate writing papers and essays that you will not like writing novels/stories. It is not a good gauge. Trust me on this one.), and I also had a general distaste for hard work in general (still do ha), so I was sure I would never like writing a single story, much less multiples. (This story is extremely funny to me looking back on it now.) So I quickly dismissed my father’s idea as a fanciful display of hopes and dreams for his daughter.
But, I didn’t stop thinking about it. I continued to toy with the idea until, about a month or two later, I locked myself in our spare bedroom with a notebook and scribbled down my first story. It was only the length of one notebook and it truly was horrendous considering a 14 year old wrote it, but it was the start of something big.
So right now, I’d just like to say the biggest THANK YOU to Daddy. *hugs* Thank you for giving me that suggestion, ignoring that I immediately bashed your idea when your first brought it up, and mostly not regretting it when 5 years later I was sobbing to you about edits and publishing.
02. Who encouraged you when you felt like giving up?
I have two answers for this one.
My sister, Kayla. She may be four years younger than me, but I have a conspiracy theory that we’re twins. She literally never has anything mean to say about my books. Every time I talk about how much I hate my writing, make fun of the stories she knows are bad, or even if I just talk over my self critiques with her, she’ll always say, “I always thought it was good just the way it is.”
(Or sometimes, if she’s in a spicy mood, she’ll tell me in country accent, “YOUR BOOKS ARE GOOD!”)
She is always patient with my wails about writing, and she doesn’t mind talking about my book for hours after we’ve read a chapter together, telling me all the things she loved and thought were really good about it.
She even makes me memes about my books. (#thisistruelove)
And my other sister, Abby. She says the sweetest, kindest things about my books, and has listened to every single chapter of every single book I have ever written. (And she’s even had access to a few chapters to a book no one ever knew about but us!) Whenever I start t get upset about the state of my novels, she will quickly reassure me that I am a good writer, and that my books are good. She always has a inspirational word to give me to keep on going.
The reason I mentioned them is because their unconditional support and love for my books has inspired me to keep writing, even on the worst days. They show me someone DOES love my books, and that publishing can happen. ❤
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?
First off, the creator of this tag, JENNA!!!! Her blog posts are SO inspiring, and they make me want to keep writing. Her posts (particularly the ones where she talks about lies writers tell themselves) speak directly to my sensitive, doubtful author heart. It reminds me that I’m not the only author who struggles with worries, fretting that my writing will never be good enough, and that it’s okay to have bad books in your past.
(seriously please go follow her)
Also, I absolutely must take a moment to recognize the wonderful mashmallow bean that is Kassie.
KASSIE. *sobs* She literally read my entire MAMMOTH of a novel in one evening the literal day I sent it.
AND if that was not enough, the next day she sent me a huge email full of praise and fangirling that touched me in the deepest parts of my heart.
What no one knew about that day was that the day she sent the email it was The Third Worst Day Of My Life™, and I honestly don’t know what I would have done had she not sent me that sunshine and happiness loaded email to my inbox that day.
Also, I think that her being the first one to finish and then give me such an amazing feedback email gave me the confidence I really needed to power through that
ongoingly awful challenging alpha reader process.
Alpha reading is one of my least favorite parts of the book writing process, but it’s people like Kassie that keep me going. 🙂
And of course, this would not be complete without recognizing the wonderful Merie. She is a GENIUS blogger who hates cliches as much as I do. Also, she is an amazing person. Just recently she helped me through some of the e
xtremely cringy curious questions I had about writing fantasy, and gave me tons of inspiration and advice without ever making me feel less of a writer just because I had questions. She was also quite sweet about my novice story ideas as well!
I had desperately needed her advice and help, and she came in at just the right time! And if that wasn’t enough, she meticulously comments on every single one of my posts and never fails to make me happy and smile. THANK YOU, Merie!! ❤
04. Who’s always been there for you, through thick and thin with your writing?
If there’s anyone who has ever stuck it out through the process of me becoming an author, it’s them.
They’ve listened to every story, no matter how cringy, and told me they loved it.
And to be the most specificest, lemme talk about my mommy.
She has never judged my stories or told me I couldn’t make it as an author. (in fact, she once told me, “I completely believe that if you want to, you can be a published author.” *distant sobbing from penny*) She was the one who told me on several occasions, “JUST PUBLISH IT!”
My Mom has a great way of all of a sudden coming out of a train of thought, looking me in the eye, and randomly telling me how I should edit my book. And she gives good advice! I love it when she helps out with my editing process. And she also is there to sympathize with me when I wail about the woes of editing.
Thank you, Mommy!!! *hugs* And thank you to Daddy, Kayla, Abby, and MeMe Rogers. You beans are the best. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
05. Who’s helped you make your writing better, wasn’t afraid to give you honest feedback, and helped improve your craft?
Without a doubt. Angela!
Angela Watts is SUCH an inspiring author, woman, and follower of God! She is also a genius editor. The company she is a manager at, Reveries Co. , is an amazing service that touches on all aspects of honing your writing craft. They tailor to indie authors, but I think that authors considering traditional publishing could use this too, especially in the realm of their edits and critiques! (Though they also do web design – which we could all use a little help in!)
You can count on Angela to give honest yet so kind feedback that’ll never make you feel like trashing your manuscript the second you read the critiques. I really loved her services, so I am ecstatic to work with her again in the future!
06. Who’s given you doses of healthy laughter that brightens your day and brings a smile to your face?
me. i’m quite hilarious
Again, I’d like to relinquish this part of the award to Merie. Her subtle sense of humor and ruthless bashing of cliches is really something I appreciate immensely. I really did snort laugh out loud at her Cookie Cutters and Cinnamon Rolls post which is a part of the most hilarious and fire blog series ever.
Also, Alli from Allison’s Well has a wildly HILARIOUS sense of humor that will never disappoint. Her refined yet savage sense sense of humor combined with her A+ usage of GIFs is perfect for anytime you’re feeling down.
And finally, CHRISTINE!!! Her joy and happiness oozes out of every post and you’ll never leave one feeling cynical. Her fangirl excitement is contagious and it’s so amazing to find someone who fangirls as hard as me, but also is a genius when putting it into post form. (And also, her GIFs are ON. POINT.)
07. What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
I know exactly what this is.
Just kidding. (it’s still one of my favorite quotes, but not inspirational)
It’s actually this one.
Okay. I’m done. I still like this quote, but I know this is not what we’re talking about.
Answering this question really took a while. As you would expect, the moment I looked at this question I forgot every quote I had ever read in my life.
But when I saw this one, I knew it was my fave.
“A good book is never finished — it goes on whispering to you from the wall.”
~ Virginia Euwer Wolff
That’s my career mission.
I want my books to keep whispering to people after they’ve read it and put it away on the shelf. I want it to keep talking to them. Leave an impact that last after they’ve finished the acknowledgements.
AND there’s this one:
“Just because people love your writing doesn’t mean it’s good.”
Utter. Brilliance. Just because a book has hundreds of thousands of reviews doesn’t make it good writing. Or that you’ll like it. Or just because a book has three reviews doesn’t make it bad.
This one really makes me think.
Now a’course, I’d love one day to have millions of fans who adore my writing.
But it always raises the question.
Is it good, though?
Leave it to my dad to keep me thinking and inspired.
08. Is there someone you just want to take a moment to thank, for anything?
MY. FAMILY!!!!! But really, I mean my mom and dad, my two sisters, and my grandma. They really have impacted me in a way no one else has. They’ve comforted me when I was heartbroken over editing, cheered me on when things were good, and when I was insecure they reassured me.
My family means EVERYTHING to me and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They have been so supportive of me and they believed firmly that I could do anything I wanted to right from the start.
And also I really want to recognize my Heavenly Father. He truly has blessed me with a way of spinning stories for Him to touch and whisk people away to another world. My storytelling has blessed me personally, and I really want to bless others with it too.
I couldn’t imagine a me who doesn’t constantly daydream about characters and plot points and settings all day to escape the drudgery life can bring and then turn around and type them up into stories I hope will help others get a break from the sadness and weariness life brings.
And God gave it all to me. Thank you so much, Lord. You knew I would love this.
09. What author and/or book inspired you to write better stories and motivate you to strive to give your message to the world?
This author is a bit new to me, but has impacted me more than anyone else.
Her writing always hits with a bang. She can make you laugh out loud, sob, gasp, hold your breath, and whisk you away into a world that you never knew existed, but can make you want to live there in just a few sentences.
Not even a year ago I didn’t even know what mallowmelt was. Now I pine away for just a bite of it.
Who else longs to take a water tornado down to Atlantis city??? I just want to once!!!
I never knew how much I needed conjuring in my life.
And even though I usually find love triangles ridiculous, Shannon managed to put me on pins and needles wondering who Sophie will end up in love with.
(also on the subject of this I’d like to say that soon I’ll be releasing my memoir, From Sokeefe to Sofitz: One Girl’s Journey, very soon. It details my foolish days of shipping Keefe and my return to the light with Sodex. But after much heartbreak, I must resign to Sofitz, as Sodex will probably, never happen. May that fateful ship never be forgotten.)
Now I’ve only read the first three, (and whether I’ll read the others is up in the air right now, so I can’t really recommend any of the ones past Book 3) but reading those 3 novels (Keeper Of The Lost Cities, to be exact) has pushed me to be a better, clearer, more impactful writer. She made me feel like in a world full of YA, middle grade has a place in it, and is just as awesome. (more awesome, if ya ask moi) She wasn’t afraid to push middle grade to the next level, and the result is beautiful.
10. What piece of advice do you want to give to other young writers?
Just kidding. (although this is rather important to remember)
I’d probably say KEEP GOING. Writing is not for the faint of heart. It’s full of brutal and blunt opinions, frustrating writer’s block, stubborn characters, confusing plots, tears, rejection, backaches, stress, and square eyes. And then at the end of the day what do you have? An awful first draft.
But keep going! Things are going to be hard. First drafts will not be your best work. You do need practice. But that’s okay! Just keep going. You’ll get where you want to be. Just keep pushing!
Also, don’t publish until you KNOW you are ready. You don’t want to make the mistake of publishing something that will come back and haunt you later. Even something that might be okay now will be hideous to you even a year from now. Even successful and amazing writers like Bryan Davis admit that when he looks at his first book (which he rewrote over 100 times and then reedited with a professional) he still finds some parts cringy. (#bryandavisisme)
Please, please be careful of what you publish online, personal or pertaining to your writing. You may not always be proud of it, so just think twice is all I ask.
And finally, five big things I’ve learned…
- It’s okay if your writing is bad. Everyone’s is at one point – so will yours! (i know this is not very inspirational but hear me out) My first novel was horrendous – almost everyone’s is. But, coming back to what I said up there, keep going. Keep reading. Keeping writing. Keep editing. Keep learning. It will pay off big, I’m telling you.
- Push yourself. It wasn’t until very recently I realized that I wasn’t pushing myself when it came to my writing. It wasn’t that I was not trying to write good books – I really wanted to! But I didn’t understand what it truly meant to push myself in all aspects of my writing. Plot, characters, style, humor, and emotions. But, in recent times I have been truly pushing myself to make sure I am writing at my best, and the results are really showing my writing.
- Talk. To. Other. Writers. This one can be tricky to be honest. We shouldn’t let people tell us how to write our novels, but at the same time, this can be the biggest help you’ll ever find. Ask questions. Bounce ideas. Brainstorm. Ask for inspiration. Camp NaNo and Story Embers seem to be not my alley, but I literally cannot stop raving about my writer’s Hangouts group. Julia, Meredith, Abigail, Merie, Olivia, and Rosalyn are the BOMB.COM and I don’t mean that lightly. (and even though they’re not in this particular chat with me, Angela, Anna Willis, Allyson Kennedy, and Jo (JO STILL TALKS ABOUT CASSANDRA AND I JUST CAN’T) are the most sweetest, most genius people ever to talk to. They are all epic writers.) They’re the first group chat I’ve been on in years that is just so pure and friendly and not toxic at all. I definitely suggest talking to some writers you trust and maybe getting together a group were you guys can talk, encourage each other, whine about editing, and pass around (virtual) chocolates!
- You don’t have to please everyone. Stop faking – everyone knows everybody hates feedback. I’ve seen it (and been both guilty and a victim to it) countless times – the author begs for feedback on their novel then violently argues every suggestion. There is something to be said for getting a different opinion. It can bring to light things you needed a confirmation on, helps you see things from a different angle, and will sharpen your story. But, alas, you can’t listen to every suggestion you get. If someone’s suggestion doesn’t sit right with you, stare at the comment, laugh your head off, and shout, “Peasant! You know nothing of what you have just spoken of!” (note: don’t actually say that to the person giving the feedback – just say it to yourself. it’s rather satisfying nonetheless.) This is your story. Pick and choose your feedback. You can’t please everyone. If it doesn’t sit right with you or your don’t agree with it, fling it into Mt. Doom.
- If you don’t think your story is good, you will get absolutely nowhere. This one can be confusing at first. We’re writing that story – of course we love it! But……do you really? *insert dubious Thor* All I hear writers say is “ugh my story is awful” or “this story is trash lol” and why this might actually be true, it’s not necessarily true. Maybe your plot needs some kinks smoothed out. Maybe your grammar is trash. (especially if you’re me – case in point: i literally just wrote “grammer”) Your characters might be flat or the pacing is wayyyyy off. But. It. Doesn’t. Have. To. Stay. That. Way. You’re the one in charge of fixing it! Stop whining about that your story is awful and make it good. Which has to start with this: you have to think the story is good in the first place. It may not be perfect and goodness gracious, cut yourself some slack it’s the first draft, but it’s your story idea and you kinda are in love with it. Create a new doc and write this down when you’re feeling good about your story: I love this story. I came up with this. I love this story. It is a good story. It deserves to be a bestseller. Then, when you’re feeling low about your story, remember that you know deep down it’s good, and it deserves to be shared in the world.
*steps down from soapbox*
In short, I’d like to take a moment to say this.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE IN MY LIFE WHO HAS INSPIRED ME!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!!! I have not done a tag in FOREVER and now I finally have completed this glorious tag in hopes that I may be a member of the Project Inspire squad. (maybe they’ll hire me as like, the janitor or something.)
Again, big thanks to Jenna for creating this wonderous tag and PLEASE give her a follow and consider doing this tag. It’s the funnest thing I’ve done in a while on this blog.
what do you think of project inspire? are you going to do the tag? do you like dinosaurs?