Leah Stecher is stopping by from NYCFYA to jumpstart our series on writing! Take it away, Leah:
If you’re reading this, you probably read a lot of YA. You probably read a lot in general, because you probably—like the rest of us—are a little obsessed with books. And if you’re a little obsessed with books, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve tried to write one. Maybe you’ve been writing down stories since you were in grade school, or maybe you only recently decided to pick up a pen (or, you know, sit down at your computer). Maybe you have the absolute best idea for a novel sitting in your brain right now.
So you sit down, you stretch your neck, you open up your laptop or notebook, and dive right in.
Only to run headlong into the giant brick wall of writers block. Or a particularly hairy plot point. Or a stressful week at work that makes it impossible to do anything in your free time other than drink wine and binge watch The 100. Yeah, we’ve all been there. Writing can be a challenge—and it can feel very lonely.
Personally, one of my biggest challenges is “stick-to-it-iveness.” I’ve got ideas, I’ve got enthusiasm, but I’ve got absolutely no follow-through. I am queen of the half-written story. Something just always comes up. I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month) at least five times and guess how many times I’ve actually finished a project? But that’s not really important. What’s important is that the writing struggle is real, ya’ll.
It’s moments like those when we could all use a little support. A chance for someone to put their hand on your shoulder and say that they too once rewrote the first two paragraphs of a story over sixteen times before abandoning it completely. A chance to be validated in your crazy writing habits (look, I like to write to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, okay? It makes all my stuff seem epic) and reminded that we all struggle with writers block sometimes.
Writing groups can be great for this kind of encouragement. But maybe you don’t have the time to get to a meeting once a month, or you never found a group that you like, or you suffer from a crippling fear of sharing your work with anyone ever. So these posts are designed to jump start an awesome online writing community full of the most awesome people around—FYA readers.
No word counts, no judgment, just good, old-fashioned conversation about how beautifully perplexing the creative process can be, and rejoicing in the moments when it all seems to go right.
With resident author Carmen Rodrigues, who assures me that the struggle continues long after publication, we’ll talk each month about a particularly troublesome aspect of writing—from clunky dialogue and pacing to even just finding time to write. There will be writing exercises to try, and fun prompts to think about, and potlucks and slumber parties and… Basically, gals, it’s going to be great.
Check back in in a few weeks for Carmen’s first post! In the meantime, introduce yourself below and share your best “writing horror story.” Here, I’ll start.
My name is Leah and my favorite color is green and one time I got halfway through a story before I realized that my characters were simply not smart or skilled enough to survive all the plot I had coming their way. I was too sad to kill them all off and too lazy to revise appropriately, so I just shelved the whole project for “a later day.” Which never came. #epicwritingfail
How about you? What are your writing struggles?
Leah Stecher lives in New York City, where she edits history books. When not editing, she runs, dances, rewatches Firefly, and eats nachos.
Thanks for stopping by, Leah!