Sunday, April 25, 2010

Turning Over A New Leaf

It's been over two months since I've written anything, partly because I'm busy trying to experience as much as possible, and partly because I wasn't sure what to blog about that people might find interesting, relevant, important. But alas, I have a lot to say to those who are reading:

I just read Writer's Digest's May/June issue and immediately flipped through their annual list of 101 Best Websites For Writers. For the past three years, I've scanned the list, but this year's really resonated. Bloggers all over the world are on the list, offering free advice for anyone who wants it. They discuss getting published, writing in general, query letters, and more. So of course I chose to "follow" many of the blogs, and my dashboard is now cluttered with more entries than I can possibly keep up with. Here's last year's list if you're interested. This year's list isn't up on the site yet.

On the list, I discovered Chris Guillebeau, a man who may have just succeeded in changing my life. Chris's website, The Art of Nonconformity, is ladden with advice, his blog about his world travels, and free pdf files that really guide people who want to make something of their life. The first of two manifestos, entitled "A Brief Guide to World Domination", captivated me. While I don't want to take over the world, I think my goals are on par with that. I want to publish a young adult novel while I'm still a young adult. I want to graduate college with a published novel. When I tell people I wrote a book, most of them look at me funny. Not in a "you must not see the light of day" way, but more in a "I wish I could do that" way. Apparently it's not every day a 17-year-old sits down and writes away until two in the morning, after working all night at Rita's Water Ice. I admit, there were times I didn't even change out of my uniform because I couldn't type fast enough. I had to get it all down before it escaped. Sometimes, I stop and ask my friends what I was thinking. I ask them if they remember how it all started. And they do. They say "You just said you wanted to write a novel." So I did. And I'm working diligently on a second novel.

The second bit of information I gathered from the list? I think I love the writing style of Allison Winn, a novelist whose books I've never read or even heard of. She had excerpts on her website so I read them, and BAM, after the first few sentences, I was hooked. I think there was something magical in her characters' tone that captured me and reeled me in. It's something I don't find often in YA lit and I'm not sure if she even classifies herself as YA or women's fiction or what, but it signifies something greater for me. During my junior year of high school, I went through a phase where I made trips to the local library several times a week, devouring YA fiction - the good, the bad, the ugly. And my ultimate goal in being published is this: I want to offer teen girls something worthy of reading, something they can't put down. Because as bored as I was, there were times I could have put the book down it was so poorly written.

So if you're like me and you need a push, check out the list. It's given me a new bought of determination, and if you know anything about me at all, you know that once determined, I make things happen.

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