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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Victora W.

Hey there, incredible YWP participant! Yes, you! You’ve been doing an amazing job so far, whether you’re the type of writer that's been sitting in front of your blank document for hours and drowning your plotting sorrows in the writerly beverage of your choice, or the type of writer who's been plugging away at the keyboard and steadily reaching your daily word count goal.

The thing is, I’m proud of you no matter what type of writer you are—and you should be too! You’ve taken a huge step by signing up for the Young Writers Program, whether this is your first time writing a novel or your fifth. 

Personally, I’m doing NaNoWriMo for the fourth time this year. And those two types of writers I talked about earlier? I’ve been both of them. There have been Novembers where I’ve had no trouble writing the novel in my head, and there have been Novembers where I haven’t been able to get a single good sentence on the page. I see you. I’ve been there.

And I have some advice.

First, write the story that inspires you. Write the story you’ll explode if you don’t tell or the one that burst into life behind the back of your eyelids while you were trying not to fall asleep in math class. Make sure your idea is something you can stick with for thirty whole days. If you’re writing a story you’re not passionate about, you’re less likely to finish it.

Second, don’t worry about what you’re writing. I’m sure you’ve all heard the writerly adages by now: goodies like “turn off your inner editor” so you can actually get work done (true!) and “you can’t edit a blank page” (even truer!). But give yourself permission to write a bad rough draft (and then be triumphant when it’s the best thing you’ve ever written). You’ll write so many more words that way.

Third, cut off your friends if you have to! This piece of advice may be a little more controversial, but some of my most successful NaNoWriMos have been the ones where I’ve deleted all of my social media and given myself the space to retreat into my writing cave and stay there. Getting yourself into the right mental space to write is important, so make sure you can find a way to do that—whether that means turning off your WiFi or getting a friend to keep your Snapchat streaks.

Finally, I want you to know that you’re amazing whether you’re planning to write 50 words this month or 50,000. Signing up to willingly write a novel at such a young age is no easy feat, and it definitely should be celebrated! If you’re reading this, give yourself permission to do just that. Go grab a writerly beverage of your choice and throw on a party hat—and when you get back, get your butt in your chair and keep working on your amazing story.

This world needs it, and this world needs you.

photo of Anna C.

Victoria W. is a future New York Times bestselling author. Right now, however, she’s a bilingual booktuber and NaNoWriMo advocate with a penchant for reading, writing, and Googling unsuspicious ways to murder people (it’s for research, she swears!) Although she’s currently a senior in high school who should be working on her classwork, you can definitely find her gushing over books, musical theater, writing mentorship contests, and animals of any kind on Twitter and Instagram at @xvictoriawrites.

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