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Camp Care Package #3: The difference between amateurs and professionals...

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Author Maggie Tokuda-Hall is your Camp Counselor the first half of this week. Find all Camp Care Packages in Breaking News throughout the month of July, or learn more about Camp NaNoWriMo!

1) Only forward, never back: 

When it comes to a first draft, the motto that works best for me is:


What does this mean? Exactly what it sounds like. When I first starting writing, I would write and rewrite beginnings over and over and over again, and it stunted my ability to move forward and finish the thing. I was building a perfect staircase that went nowhere. What I had to learn the hard way is that a perfect beginning cannot exist without an ending to answer it. Editing will happen later.

The difference between amateurs and professionals is: Professionals finish. 

2) If the story feels Sisyphean, maybe it’s not the right story for you to write, right now:

It’s okay to put projects aside. Sometimes it takes time to marinate on the right idea for years before you’re ready to actually execute it. And that’s okay! Books are forever, so wouldn’t you rather any work you have published be the absolute best iteration of the project you had in mind, possible? Forcing yourself to plod through a story that isn’t right for you, right now, may do you more harm than good. So put it aside. You can come back later. 

Writing Dare: Choose a character in your current project and spend 10 minutes writing the story/memory of a time they started something and then decided to put it aside. Our characters are defined by their failures just as much as their successes!

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Maggie Tokuda-Hall has an MFA in creative writing from USF, and a strong cake-decorating game. She is the author of the 2017 Parent’s Choice Gold Medal winning picture book, Also an Octopus, illustrated by Benji Davies. The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea is her debut young adult novel, which is due out on May 5th, 2020 from Candlewick Press. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband, son, and dog. 

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