When times get tough and your dreams seem too lofty to become a reality, what you need is some amazing advice from someone at the top of your field. For those of us who can't get enough books to read or who are trying to become professional writers, best selling authors are the key to staying inspired to put pen to page. Perhaps one day we'll be where they are now. Maybe one day we'll be writing thrilling trilogies and selling movie rights on our newly popular mega franchises. Ahh... wouldn't it be nice.
YALL West wrapped Sunday afternoon in Santa Monica. The two-day book festival served as a place for YA authors and lovers alike to come together and share their love of fictional worlds. While seeing these brilliant writers in person was enough to make the chillest human squee, the incredible part was how down-to-earth they all were. They shared their hardest struggles, their rejection letters, their mental illness diagnoses, and their very first fandoms. They also shared extremely useful tips for aspiring writers to stay motivated and keep following their dreams.
Here are 14 of the best pieces of advice and bits of writing inspiration from YALL West that every writer needs to hear.
On Not Being So Hard On Yourself
1. "Give yourself permission to suck. And talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend."
—Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall, Delirium) on silencing that monstrous inner critic
2. "You cannot suck at everything. And if you suck at everything, you don't suck at sucking."
—Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures) on believing in yourself
On What They Wish They Had Known Before Their Professional Writing Journey Began
3. "The editorial letter is your friend. Learn to accept constructive criticism."
—Brendan Reichs (Virals)
4. "Just finish the draft before you start tweaking."
—Kass Morgan (The 100)
5. "Don't worry if what you're writing doesn't resemble popular things."
—Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children)
6. "Treat it like a job. If you want to wait to feel like writing, you'll never write."
—Elizabeth Craft (TV producer/writer for The 100 and The Vampire Diaries)
On Their Chosen Writing Super Power
7. "The ability to read while I sleep."
—Veronica Rossi (Under The Never Sky)
8. "Remembering every little detail in my books so I'd never worry about missing something."
—Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles)
9. "To forget that it's a job."
—Carrie Ryan (Forest Of Hands & Teeth)
10. "To be a faster writer."
11. "A more messed up childhood."
12. "To not obsess over settings, like trees and flowers."
13. "The ability to forget anyone would ever read what I'm writing."
Image: Universal Pictures; Giphy (14)