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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Lauren I.

NaNoWriMo is a month of clicking your pen, tapping your fingers, staring into the blank screen that for some reason doesn’t automatically fill with the words you know you need to perfect your work. Sometimes, you feel scared, because the words aren’t coming to you, and when they do, you aren’t always happy with them. All you can think is, what comes next?

I started writing because of rejection.

I was at a low point, filled with disappointment in myself when I failed after months of work, and stinging with the feeling of not being enough. I thought that all the effort I had done had been meaningless.

My mom, who was working on her own novel at the time, spoke with me. She’d been trying to get a writing agent for eight years at that point and told me the struggles of being a writer. I learned of the difficulty of being faced with a blank page with nothing but a blank mind, spilling your heart into a story and still not being satisfied, and the failures that make you feel like your writing isn’t worth a thing. My mom told me of being rejected time and time again. But she also told me how a writer’s greatest ability is to move past all that.

That night I decided that I wanted to be a writer.

When I started my own novel, I was thrown into a world that was overwhelming. A world of plot-holes, inconsistencies, and half-baked characters that confused me. After all, I didn’t realize the significant difference between a first and final draft.

I decided to take a step back from my writing once I realized I didn’t really know what I was doing. But even as several years passed, I never stopped thinking of the story. And that refusal to stop writing, with the aid of NaNoWriMo, has finally gotten me past the dreaded first draft, and onto the revising step.

As countless other writers do, I have experienced rejection plenty of times. Everyone has their moments of self-doubt and disappointment, but being a writer means you take the voices in your head, and the rejected works, and you learn from them, without lingering on them. Being a writer means you are strong, and whether you write to be published, to hone your skills, or just to have fun, you have a story that only you can tell. Sometimes you fail, and sometimes you succeed, as my mom did when she got her agent.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about perfection, but about keeping your head held high, and pushing yourself to write to the very best of your ability, even if your very best isn’t where you want it to be. It’s where you are, and you must be proud of that.

NaNoWriMo is a month where all you can think is, what comes next? And the question excites you.

photo of Lauren I.

Lauren I. is a passionate writer and fan of all things fantasy. She is a junior in high school who enjoys videogames, baking, fencing, and working with the other members of Word Weavers writing club at her school. Lauren loves having late night rants with her sister about their stories and deciding which songs on their playlists fit which characters. She hopes to one day publish a novel of her own, and to finish revising her current novel. 

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