Reality Check 

Fact: I haven’t posted in awhile. I could make up some long winded excuse that’ll make my readers feel unneeded sympathy for me, but the fact is I just haven’t posted. Procrastination? Yep. Lack of ideas? Yep.

But I’m here now!

Thanksgiving has passed in a blur. Christmas is lurking around the corner. Life is pretty hectic for us all these next few months.

And, as a young writer, I find it can be hard to get the words out, amidst life’s business. I want to write so badly—I desire for the words to flow from my imagination, weaving together into a complex, beautiful, gripping novel that people will love. But reality hits: it’s not that easy. Every day I need to remind myself to press on, to strive for my goals and not to give up when goals aren’t reached. Sometimes in my mind I become the protagonist of a story, facing countless evils of Procrastination, Disappointment, and the dreaded Writer’s Block. Only with daring courage, imagination, prayer, and determination can I successfully defeat these evils and achieve my goals.

This leads to motivation. What is my motivation? What is your motivation?

There are two paths to this. The self-centered motivation would be “to become rich and famous through a bestseller.” It’s shallow to think that way about everything. Instead, a good way to think about it is “I want to do something I love.” It’s as simple as that.

If you love doing it, your passion will enrich the story. Your characters are a reflection of you, your passions; they are a piece of you. Subconsciously, all your readers will pick up on your themes, which are based on your personal worldviews.

If you genuinely love what you are doing, it will reflect in the book. It will breathe life into characters.

Maybe you aren’t a Christian, but I am. And I believe God to be the author of creation. He breathed life into this world. He loves us. We are spawned from His love, tarnished by the conflict which came from Satan. The main protagonist of our story? Jesus Christ.

And maybe this is just a story to you. But to me it’s fact. It’s life. A story told in the Word of God, a story still being woven, a story that begins and ends with God. A story we celebrate on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter whether you’re a Christian or not.

So if you love something, pursue it. If you love writing, don’t let the antagonists in your life get you down. Press on. It’s worth it.

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The Writer’s Bane

Ever get that feeling? You really, really want to write something, whether it’s on a blog, or a story, or an assignment for school, and you look at the empty page, or the blank screen, and…

Nothing.

All those ideas that swirl in your head seem to run dry.

Writer’s block is the bane of all writer’s existence. It comes and goes. I, personally, am suffering from it’s effects. I really want to write more, I really want to get the words out, but they just aren’t there.

It’s annoying. Discouraging, even. So, what should we do to conquer it?

Write. Ha, yeah, it seems like an obvious answer, but really! Close your eyes for a minute, clear your brain of all random unrelated thoughts, and think about what you want to accomplish. Then, start typing, or scratching that pen against paper. It’s okay if it’s rough, just get the words out.

Also, talking your ideas out with a trusted friend can help a lot. Someone who can give you input, and help you organize the ideas you have. Voicing your ideas can make them come alive, and help them to flourish.

Best of luck to you! Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!

Great Idea! Now What?

Writers get ideas, and lots of them! Inspiration for a story can come from anywhere—other stories, pictures, places, or even dreams. But how does a writer turn an idea into a good story?

First, consider these types of ideas a writer can have.

1) Characters. Sometimes, you might think of a character, and love that character so much that you want to write a story based on him or her. Be it a villain, main character, or set of characters, a story must be written to fit them in. A good story needs good characters, so starting with them is one great way to begin planning.

2) Location. You might envision a place, fictional or real. And you might think how perfect it would be to have the setting of a story be in that location. Great settings come from the places you’re familiar with. If you live near a forest, a fictional world with a large forest could easily be described. If you’ve—for example—never been to a beach, then don’t write a story about a beach because how could you then describe it? If you want to write a story in a place you’ve never visited, be sure to do your research!

3) Plot. “I want to write a futuristic novel where an alien species plans on destroying earth, and a team of scientists is trying to fight back!” That’s an example of a plot idea. You know the very basic plot line, and you want to expand upon it.  It could be a mind boggling concept, a tragic premise, or a fantasy-adventure, the possibilities are endless!

4) Symbolic or Allegorical Concept. If you are familiar with C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, there are two things to consider. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis illustrates what Christ did for us on the Cross by using an allegory. Meanwhile, Aslan is symbolic. He represents a God-Figure—he is a symbol of the God C.S. Lewis and I believe in. Similarly, you might find yourself coming up with an idea of a story with symbolic or allegorical qualities, both of which can make a powerful story.

Once you get a story idea that you like, stick with it! Expand upon it, give it life, let your imagination go free! You never know what adventure awaits. An idea leads to a solid plan, and a solid plan leads to a drafted book, and with perseverance a drafted book leads to a finished product you can be proud of.

Leave a comment or contact me at abbymills.author@gmail.com if you have questions or requests!

-Abby

An Introduction

A teenager is capable of writing a book equal to the skill of an adult. So, why aren’t there a ton of bestselling books written by young people? Sure, there are few scattered here and there, but not nearly as many as there could be.

Why not?

The real question to ask is this: What is needed to write and publish a novel? Skill? A mind with overflowing ideas?
Sure. That could work.

But really, there are two fundamental qualities an author needs. Courage, and patience.

Courage, because once you write a book and publish it, not everyone will like it. That’s the sad and simple truth. Think about stories you’ve read, then slammed closed and thought “that was terrible.” Every author has to realize that some readers will adore their book, some readers will like it, and some will hate it. A writer needs the courage to not worry what others will think, and the courage to receive constructive criticism well.

Patience, because most novels take awhile. Anything you write takes awhile, especially if you want it to be a piece that people will enjoy reading. The writing process can be long, at times even frustrating, but if your mind is set on the finished product, keep at it! Don’t discard ideas, instead dedicate yourself.

Courage, patience. Not just life skills, but also keys to a successful novel.