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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Keira B

Dear Writers,

I am here to tell you that this November, no matter how bad you feel your novel is, do not stop writing. 

You probably started out excited and full of energy, ready to write and soaring past your daily word count goals, but then after a few days, you read what you wrote. 

Which, a lot of the time, can be a disastrous mistake. Because then that voice in your head starts whispering, Look at this mess. Look at those misspellings, those grammatical mistakes, and worse, your terrible first line, your awful plotline, your terrible...Okay, you get the idea. Well, I have something to say about all that: 

Writing is like baking. That may sound weird, but hear me out.

I once decided to bake chocolate earthquake cookies, which I thought would be great, but they did not turn out well. The batter was way too sticky, and there was no way I would be able to turn them into cookies. I nearly threw it away, because what was I supposed to do with them? 

But then, I wondered: Why not use it for something else? What’s chocolatey, doesn’t have to be shaped into something, and has the same ingredients? Brownies! Those turned out really well, but if I had thrown the batter away, I never would have had them. 

Writing can be like that. You have an idea. You start writing. Then you read what you wrote. It’s awful, you think. This is a mess I can’t fix. I should just delete it. But you should never delete it. You can turn your writing into something great, even if it looks bad now. Because if every time I baked, I looked at flour and thought, "This stuff tastes terrible, looks terrible, how can I ever turn it into cookies?" I would be in a bad place. 

All cookies start with something like a flour mixture. Then you have to do all the other steps to finish them. I can’t worry about decorating the cookies before I put them in the oven, or I would never finish them! Same with you: don’t worry about all the steps in writing right now; just get the first draft done! 

 And when you write, remember that it’s not going to be perfect right away. All books start out with a messy first draft, and if you are afraid to write something that doesn’t turn out right at first, you will never write. Because the only way to turn it into something good is to write the messy draft first. And have fun doing it! Hold on to your original excitement, and don’t let it go.

 Also, remember that it’s okay to take your story wherever it needs to go. Don’t hold back. If your original plotline doesn’t work, change it! If you don’t like your main character, kick them out and switch perspectives! This is why we have second (and third, and fourth) drafts! Because if I can change cookies to brownies, then you, dear writer, can change a story’s direction! 

So, when you feel like deleting your whole book and starting over, remember: the only way to write the story you want to write is to write it, no matter how hard it seems right now. 

So go ahead and write!

photo of Chiara C.

Keira B. is an aspiring writer who also loves to bake, crochet, read, and snuggle with any of her four cats. She is in eighth grade and enjoys spending her time researching anything she’s interested in. She likes reading (and writing) historical fiction, but also loves many other genres. Her favorite book series is probably Harry Potter, and she is happy to be in Ravenclaw (the best of the houses, though others may disagree). She hopes to win NaNoWriMo this year, and also wishes the best of luck to all other NaNo writers!

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