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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Emily B.

My mum once tried making meatloaf.

Emphasis on tried.

We didn't have enough breadcrumbs, and the recipe was followed out of order. When the meatloaf was finally pulled out of the oven and put on the table… it fell to pieces.

Forever to be known as, not meatloaf, but meat mush.

But guess what?

That was the most delicious meatloaf — sorry, meat mush — that I have ever had. Seriously. It was amazing.

You might be struggling with your story. You might be thinking, 'This is absolute rubbish, why am I even trying?'

Because if you don't, you'll never experience the beautiful taste of an imperfect attempt.

You see, writing is a lot like that meatloaf.

Sometimes everything works out on the first try. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you realize halfway through that you don’t have the right ingredients in the pantry, or it just won’t end up looking the way you think it should.

Most stories fall apart at some point, for different reasons. All authors struggle occasionally, whether they’ve been writing for a short while or for their whole lives.

But here’s a secret for you: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be amazing!

If your story isn’t what you planned, that’s okay! If it falls apart, that’s okay! Rename it, and keep moving.

As meatloaf, yes, my mum’s recipe was an epic disaster. But as meat mush, it was the most delicious meal I have ever tasted! And if she hadn’t tried, despite every indication that it wasn’t going to work, then I would never have had meat mush on my plate. In fact, we would probably have had fast food for dinner.

I'm glad my mum tried, and didn't quite succeed, at making meatloaf... and forevermore, may the meat mush legacy live on!

But most of all, I'm glad for the opportunity to see that an imperfect attempt can still be a wonderful thing.

So, no matter what obstacles get in your way, keep trying!

You've got this, writers!

And remember, unlike my mum, you get to edit. You get to take the recipe, and tweak it until you love it!

But until then, make your word mush, let it fill the metaphorical pan, and at last come out of the oven fully cooked. Whether it's what you were hoping for or not, it is a success!

(And spoiler alert: the last meatloaf my mum made was actually loaf-shaped! Yay!)

photo of Emily B.

Emily B. is a homeschooled Christian author, poet and singer/songwriter. She enjoys reading, writing, most performing arts, and of course, spending time with her family. Her wall is currently plastered with sticky notes from her latest idea. Emily has wanted to be a writer since the day she learned that books are created by people and has not changed her mind. Her goal is to be a published novelist, and she hopes NaNoWriMo will help her finish her first draft.

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