Caitlin is the mind behind Quills & Coffee, where she shares tips, tools, & encouragement for writers. She writes YA sci-fi/fantasy novels, and is currently querying her second book, WHAT LIES ABOVE, while drafting her third. When she’s not writing or working, you can find her reading, composing piano, and adding endless destinations to her travel bucket list. Or quite possibly eating dark chocolate.
I'm pleased to welcome Caitlin Lambert to my blog today to share her encouragement for young writers. As an 18-year-old, Caitlin is familiar with the struggles that young writers are faced with along their path to publication. If you've been facing writing-related discouragement or doubts, I'm sure her writerly reminders will provide just the jumpstart you need to get going again!
Dear Young Writers, Don't Give Up Yet
By: Caitlin Lambert @ CaitlinALambert
Hi everyone! Thank you Tessa so much for having me. Today I’m talking about something very dear to my heart – being a young writer.
Writing is hard, no matter the genre, and no matter how long you’ve been doing it. Being a young writer is a unique kind of difficult. We face different challenges and, many times, different stereotypes. In recent years, more and more twenty-something-year-old authors are breaking into the literary world and finding success. But what about teen writers? A number of teen authors have been discovered and gotten their work out there (including the wonderful Tessa Emily Hall), but their journeys were not easy.
When you know in your heart that this is a gift God has given you, and that your dream is to be published, it will all work out for the good. Nevertheless, He doesn’t promise it will be easy, and experience attests to that. Here are a few difficult lessons I’ve learned over the years.
Your First Novel Might Not Be “The One”
I’ve talked about this over at my blog before, and it’s very close to my heart. Why? Because I learned it by experience, and it was something that almost broke me as a writer. I started writing my first novel when I was twelve, and back then, I knew very little about how the publishing world worked. I was confident that I would be able to secure an agent. I dreamed about my book cover, and what it would be like to walk into a bookstore and see my name on the shelf. So two years later when I started querying, I was crushed to get nothing but rejections.
Now, rejections do not always mean you should give up. However, what was even more heartbreaking was for me to realize that much of what the agents were saying was true --- my first book was not ready for publication, and probably never will be. I received so much encouragement, but I was still incredibly discouraged. After this, I didn’t work on another novel for TWO YEARS. Thankfully, God brought me back to writing, and I began to realize that even though that first novel will never make it into the world, it taught me so much of what I know today as a writer. That book was not a failure because I learned from it.
There are many authors out there who had to write a dozen manuscripts before they were published. If they had given up any earlier, they would never be where they are now.
Rejections Make You Stronger
Rejection is something that we will all face at some point in our lives. In work. In our dreams. Writing is no different. Learning how to deal with rejection young will allow you to seize your dreams and pursue them fearlessly. One of my favorite quotes is by Elisabeth Elliot: “God never denies us our hearts desire, except to give us something better.” Trust that every rejection is just His redirection.
You Have Your Whole Life Ahead Of You
Although we should seize every day and live it to the fullest, it’s also sometimes good to step back and realize that many authors do not even start writing their first book until they are in their twenties or thirties (or sometimes later). The fact that you have started in your teens is incredible! I will be 19 this year, and I am writing my third novel. By the time I am 20, I will have completed three full books (maybe more *smiles*). I know of many young writers who can say the same. Even if none of those books are published, each of them will have made you a stronger writer. With perseverance, your day will come.
If there is something I want you to take away from this post, it is to keep fighting for your dreams. There is a wonderful community for young writers out there, and I encourage you to get involved if you aren’t already. Being a young writer is hard. It can be discouraging. But it can also be beautiful and incredible. And one day, when you finally receive that “yes”, you will look back and smile at the long road it took to make it there.
Connect with Caitlin
Website: Quills & Coffee www.caitlinlambert.com
Thanks for sharing your insight, Caitlin!
Readers: What's the biggest struggle you've faced along your writing journey? What challenges have you come across as a young writer?