Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How to Make the Most of Your Time as a Teen Writer {Free PDF!}

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Recently, I’ve provided content for the Young Writer’s Workshop membership—and it’s reminded me of why I’m passionate about helping young writers.

Because I was once in your shoes.

In fact, I began my writing journey when I was 15-years-old. I wrote the first draft of my book, PURPLE MOON, studied the writing craft, researched the industry, and took creative writing courses. If it wasn’t for the time I spent dedicated to progressing in my writing journey, then I wouldn’t be where I am today in the publishing industry. Not only that, but I wouldn’t have the faith to believe that I could make a living in this industry.

I want to teach you exactly the steps I took that lead me to where I am today.  I want to help you progress in your own writing journey.

That’s why I’ve decided to create a mailing list specifically geared toward teen/young writers. I want to get to know you personally and share secrets and tips that will help you make the most of your time as a teen writer.

I’ve created a free PDF download titled “Top 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time as a Teen Writer”. This PDF includes the steps that I took that helped to launch my career at a young age.

You can receive this PDF by signing up for my young-writers-only mailing list below*:

Claim you free PDF for young writers!

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I look forward to hearing from you!

*Although the mailing list is geared toward teen/young writers specifically, it's totally fine if you're a beginning writer who wants to learn more, or if you want to sign up simply out of curiosity.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How Teen Writers are like Spider-Man - Guest Post by Stephanie Kehr

I'm so excited to introduce to you my friend and fellow author, Stephanie Kehr! Stephanie and I "met" a few years ago through the blogging community, but we didn't officially meet face-to-face until recently. We roomed together at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and soon discovered how much we had in common -- our passion for YA fiction and to encourage teen writers, our dream to have a writing ministry, a diagnosis of autoimmune disease, etc. Needless to say, we clicked immediately -- which is why I'm thrilled to have her stop by my blog today!

Stephanie is a professional writer and journalist living outside of Buffalo, New York, where it probably snows a lot. She’s pursuing publication for her first novel, Reaching Home, and she spends her quiet moments writing poetry and blogging about her adventures with God. Stephanie has a heart for sharing real stories and encouraging authors to write for Jesus and love what they do. She’s a big believer in hard work, audiobooks, and chocolate, and can usually be found changing the world somewhere. 

Twitter: @stephiekehr

I am completely captured by writing. I think it’s great. When I was seventeen, I became so charmed by it that I signed a contract on my first book. Tessa and I have this in common. We both started writing seriously in our teens, and our parents had to sign our contracts with us.

As exciting as it is to be a young writer, there are also a lot of unique responsibilities that come along with it. Responsibilities I didn’t consider when I scribbled my name across that dotted line.

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A few weeks ago, I went to see the new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie. Although I tend to be more of a chic flick type of gal, I enjoyed this film a great deal. Mid-way through, I began to identify with Peter Parker in a way that surprised me. Outwardly, Parker was living the life of a normal high school kid, but inwardly he was carrying the burden of a heavier responsibility. Just like a teen writer.

Here are some ways that being a teen writer is like being Spider-Man:

1. You’ll Miss Out on High School Fun

Peter Parker chose to skip out on parties and everyday teen life because he knew saving the world was more important. In the same way, writers choose to value their ambitions over a little teen fun. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to relax now and then, but it does mean that sometimes you’ll have to meet that deadline instead of hang out with friends.

(Your friends will understand.)

2. Revealing Your Secret Identity Could be Devastating.

Although I enjoy telling people about what I do, revealing my author identity isn’t always in my best interest. I am an introvert, after all. Not a lot of people know any real authors, so when they find out who you are, they might crowd you. “What’s your book about?” “Is your character anything like you?” and “When can I read it?” are all common and predictable questions you’ll receive if you become a professional writer. Though these questions are genuinely appreciated, they might wear you out fast. You have a responsibility to yourself to make sure you don’t get overloaded by people’s opinions and expectations. Keep it simple. Be discerning. If you don’t feel comfortable telling someone the intimate details about your novel’s inner workings, it’s okay to cut the conversation short.

3. You’ll be fighting More Than Bad Guys

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker isn’t only battling The Vulture. He’s also fighting against his own teenage heart, and he’s facing the world’s cruelty head-on. Every day, he looks at levels of evil that his peers don’t even know exist.

As Christian writers, our task is to ultimately share the gospel through our work. Believe me when I tell you the enemy will be attacking you like crazy. Especially during big events in your career, expect the adversity to be there. Not only will you be responsible for meeting those writing deadlines (fighting The Vulture), you’ll also be carrying the weight of the world at times (everything else).  

Do you remember in the beginning of this post when I said I was completely captured by writing? I am. That’s something Spider-Man and I have in common, too. Peter Parker was so passionate about Spider-Man’s mission that he was willing to sacrifice everything. As a teen, I chose to be a writer because I know that despite the unique challenges and responsibilities, writing is something I’ll always be willing to sacrifice for.

~ ~ ~

Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

Readers: What have you found to be the most challenging aspect about being a teen writer?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Currently... {September 2017}

It's been a while since I wrote a currently post! My last one was titled "Coffee Shop Chats", but I've decided to go back to "Currently" to avoid the confusion with my upcoming teen devotional (TBR September 2018). But if you'd like to join in on my currently posts, feel free! Click here for the "rules". ;)


What  I've been up to recently ...
These past few months have been a whirlwind, to say the least! Labor Day weekend was the first *breather* I've had since mid-July. (So please forgive me if you've sent me an email that I haven't responded to yet. I'll get caught up eventually!)

Over the spring and summer, I've had the amazing opportunity to travel to various writing conferences and meet other writers, clients, and new friends. Then, this past month I was buried in my writing cave (and went on a writing retreat to the mountains!) to plug away on my teen devotional. 

(For those of who you don't know: The teen devotional is tentatively titled "Coffee Shop Chats" and will be released with Bethany House September 2018. It includes 180 devotions and 10 coffee recipes for teens!) 

Pictures Taken ...

Here are *some* of the pictures I've taken over the past few months ...
One of my best friends and fellow YA author, Caroline George, came home from college! 

Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference 2017.
Love this place and these people!

With the faculty at SoCal Christian Writers Conference!
First time meeting YA authors, Shannon Dittemore and Jill Williamson. =)

Meeting the talented YA authors, Nadine Brandes and Kara Swanson (who is now my client at Hartline)!

Making memories with new friends at SoCal Christian Writers Conference. =)

Special time with my family in FL

Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference! I had the chance to lead the teen track, and I met a blogger friend of mine (and fellow YA author), Stephanie Kehr. She's the sweetest!

Visited my sister, Tara Brose, in NYC! It was my last time to visit her before she and her husband move to Bali. 

Saying bye to Caroline before she left for her final semester at Belmont University!
Instagram - @tessaemilyhall
Currently Looking Forward To ...

Currently Working On ...
  • Recently sent the manuscript for "Coffee Shop Devos"to my editor. Yay!
  • Finishing the sequel to Purple Moon. (Okay, this project has taken for-ever. But I haven't officially given it 100% of my focus -- it's been more on the back burner. However, my goal is to finish it by late October. Prayers appreciated!
  • Creating video course material for Young Writers Workshop and Serious Writers Academy

Currently Sipping On ...

  • Mexican Pumpkin Mochas! Pictured above. I created the recipe this morning. (Want to try it? Sign up for my newsletter! It'll be sent soon.) ;) 

Currently Listening To ...

  • Hillsong United's latest album
  • Switchfoot + Lifehouse. I went to their concert recently and it was perfection.
  • Audrey Assad
  • LEVV
  • Rachel Lampa
  • Young Oceans
  • Outcry
  • Jonathan & Melissa Helser
  • Bethel
  • Jimmy Needham
  • Taylor Swift's new singles ... which I'm not crazy about. (What do ya'll think?)

Currently Reading ...

  • Just finished reading "Sugar Linings" by Sierra Sandison. Five stars! Encouraging and inspiring read for those living with Type 1 Diabetes, affected by it, or wanting to learn more about it. 
  • "The Creative Call" by Janice Elsheimer
  • "Redemption" by Karen Kingsbury

Current To-Read List ...

  • There are so many books on my to read list pile; it's impossible to include all of them. But here's one that I'm most looking forward to reading. "The Writers Desk" by Rachel Hauck. I haven't read any of her books, but I've heard incredible things about them! Have you read this one? 

Currently Praying For ...
  • Those affected by the hurricane in Texas
  • Hurricane Irma and those in its path (including my oldest sister and her husband who live in FL)
  • My sister and her husband, who are currently on a mission trip in Africa and are soon moving to Bali!
Do you have any prayer needs?

What are you currently reading, working on, looking forward to, etc.? Let me know in the comments -- or share a link to your own "currently" post! =)