Pep Talk from Laurie Halse Anderson

photo of Laurie Halse Anderson

Hey there!

Can you stare into space and imagine worlds that don't exist?

Do you get into arguments with the characters in your head?

Do you keep a notebook with you all the time because sometimes you get these amazing
ideas that you have to write down because if you forget them there is a very good chance the sun will explode and all life on Earth will cease to exist?

Yeah, I thought so.

You are a writer.

That's the good news. The bad news?

You are a writer.

You are not a magician. Or a wizard. Or an author who had published twenty million
books (yet).

You were born with the seeds of your talent, the ability to observe the world around you
and weave piece of it into a story. I believe that most —if not all —people are born with
these seeds. What separates the writers from the non-writers is that the writers actually sit down and ... you know ... write.

It sounds simple. We both know it isn't.

Writing fiction is a bold and brave thing to do. You have to stand up to the critics in your
home and school AND the critics in your head and tell them to shush. You have to
believe that you have permission from the Universe to create. You have to be willing to
fail, mess up, make mistakes, go down the wrong path, be confused, feel inadequate, and then still sit down and ... you know ... write.

I promise you that every self-doubt you've had, I've had. Every procrastination tool
you've tried, I perfected. The struggles that you are going through with your book are
exactly the struggles I am going through. All writers climb the same mountains.

It doesn't matter how many books I've had published. I have never before written the
book I am writing today. It is hard and sometimes frustrating, but I know the aggravation
is worth it. I stumble and mutter and cross things out and have flashes of inspiration and
ignore the nasty doubts and keep writing.

You can do this, too.

Because we are writers, and writers, you know... write.

Laurie Halse Anderson 

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Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times-bestselling author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists, and Chains was also short-listed for the United Kingdom's Carnegie medal. She was selected by the American Library Association for the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her significant contribution to young adult literature. Laurie has also been honored for her battles for intellectual freedom by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English. She is a member of RAINN's National Leadership Council and frequently speaks about sexual violence.