Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pep Talk from Jamie Mitchell

I know what you’re thinking, and trust me, I’m thinking the same thing. Why would you read my pep talk? You don’t know who I am.

Not when you can read pep talks by greats. Veronica Roth and Tamora Pierce have written pep talks for this year’s NaNoWriMo participates. Other famous authors and bloggers have written them this year and in the past. And you read them because they’ve made it. Brandon Sanderson has made it. Rainbow Rowell, Scott Westerfeld, Marissa Meyer—they’ve all made it.

I haven’t made it. I’m a relative nobody in the publishing world. I’m writing this NaNoWriMo pep talk expecting very few people to see it, because I haven’t made it as a writer. I am a writer, yes, but I’m not famous. I haven’t even written a book that’s agent-ready, let alone editor or publisher-ready. All I have under my belt is a few full drafts that are products of NaNoWriMo madness.

By now you’re thinking, this isn’t much of a pep talk. Give me another paragraph or three.

Yes, I may be a nobody in the publishing world. My blog has decent pageviews but doesn’t have many followers. I don’t have an agent, let alone a publisher.

But I’m still writing.

I’m not writing with the goal to be Rainbow or Veronica or anyone else that already has a name in publishing. I’m writing to be me. I’m writing to see MY name in print. That’s what I want. I want to be able to write a book (ideally a great one) that snags an agent and an editor and a publisher and then the GOAL—the absolute goal, which if it happens, I will likely bawl and take a millions pictures acting like a crazy person in the YA aisle of the bookstore—is to have MY book on the shelf.

I admit it'd be nice if my book sold well. I’d throw a happy dance party if it made it to the NYT bestsellers list. I’d love to be able to write full-time. And I still hold these dreams close to my heart. But even if no one reads my book except my mom and boyfriend (though I admit I’ll be sad if that’s the case), I’ll know I accomplished writing a book and getting it published.

So when you write, don’t write to be the next big name. Don’t write to be the next Gillian Flynn or Rick Riordan or whomever it is that you idolize. Write because you want to write. Write because the story is pouring out of you like a waterfall, glinting in the sunlight and thundering in your ears. Write because you have a story to tell and it needs to be on paper even if it doesn’t vault you to author celebrity. Write even if you become the Van Gogh of the publisher world. Write even if no one reads it, not even your mother.

Write for you.

Now, stop reading this, and write.

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