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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Zailey S.

Way too often we judge ourselves on our first draft!

Like with our messy rooms, paint supplies left out, or that nasty pile of dishes on the sink, we want it to disappear, not to embarrass us in front of other people.

We crumple up the sheets of paper, shove them under our beds, or delete them from our devices.

We tell ourselves that our favorite authors would be way better and that we should get a cupcake and perhaps some of that hot cocoa in the pantry and leave the writing to the "real writers".

But stop!

Look again at what you wrote, and see why you put those words there. Every story is HORRIBLE at first, just like that ugly caterpillar that keeps eating at your flowers. But if you look closer, you will see spelling errors that you can quickly fix, simple punctuation errors, and that one wordy sentence.

When you start noticing these, your story suddenly starts changing before your eyes. It’s almost "perfect". Then you start fixing it. You add a comma here, quotation mark there, realize that you accidentally put that they ate at Big G and got tools at Runza (don't ask, it's a long story), add characters, remove characters, etc.

Then sit back!

See that you are suddenly WAY above your original word goal, and your story is super good! It’s like a perfect monarch butterfly, and once you let it go into the world, it will soon take flight.

There are also ways you can motivate yourself to write. Here's two tips:

1. Get a writing buddy!

I'm not talking about getting an actual human being to write with you right now. I mean something like a stuffed animal. It can be a little friend to sit at your desk to remind you of that awesome story idea that you are working on.

2. Have a fun reminder.

Here I'm not talking about setting an alarm, but if it would help you, go ahead! I mean every time you sit down to write, grab something like a cup of tea and don't stop until you have finished the tea. And before you know it, every time you take a sip of tea you're going to be thinking “hey, shouldn't I be writing?”

Now, go grab that cupcake and hot cocoa, you earned it!

(You have no idea how many times I rewrote this...)

photo of Zailey S.

Zailey S. is a fantasy writer who enjoys reading, writing, diamond dot art, coloring her hair, playing with her cat, going to church, and having fun with her friends. She is currently in seventh grade and admits that she might be too obsessed with How To Train Your Dragon. One of her favorite things to do is get on calls with her aunt and plan/work on their current/future novels. Zailey has not published anything but she hopes to publish as soon as she's done with the novel she's planning right now. (and writing, rewriting, and revising it of course!)

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