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  • Writer's pictureCarol Alwood

Five Tips for Teen Writers

The life of a writer can be challenging.

Homework, family expectations, annoying siblings, and relationships can be huge distractions when a manuscript is whispering, "Finish me."

Here are five tips to help you feel productive and happy with the progress you're making on your novel when life gets crazy.

1. Talk about your story with someone you trust.

There are some days when the words aren't flowing, or you must do other things. To get around this frustrating lack of words the page, it might help to discuss your story with a friend. Make sure it's a friend who likes fiction. I have found that people who don't love fiction don't want to listen to me talk about plot, characters, or word choice issues. The most important thing to remember when discussing your novel, is the final decisions are up to you. You're the one who knows your story best, so stay confident as you receive feedback.

2. Carve out thirty minutes to write.

Thanks to my new writing friend, Larry Leech, author of Unholy Quest, I have been reminded it's usually best to write a little bit everyday. Thirty minutes might not sound like enough time to get much done, but the beauty of spending some time writing almost every day, is you can keep your story fresh in your mind, and the words add up if you're consistent. Plus, once you begin writing, you may find you have time to do more.

3. Set goals.

I just returned from the SoCal Christian Writing Conference, and one of our keynote speakers, Mary DeMuth, explained a fun way to keep track of her word count goals. She decides how many words she hopes to write in one day. Then she creates a page with bars or squares. Each bar or square represents a number of words she colors in as she finishes. I did this over the summer, and it was a motivating strategy for me.

4. Forgive yourself.

This is the advice I tend to need the most. Forgive yourself when you fall short of your writing goals, and then start fresh. It's so easy to think about the days, weeks, or even months you avoided your manuscript, and feel terrible. However, time away can provide the much needed "fresh eyes," or new perspective, when you get started again. Try not to take too much time away from your writing, but when you do there's no reason to berate yourself for being human.

5. Keep writing.

In the end, what matters most is you follow your purpose in life. Were you meant to be a writer? Are there signs this is something you're meant to do? Then keep on writing! Nobody writes an excellent first draft, so put those words on the page and see what happens.

I hope this has been helpful.

Blessings, dear writer friend!

Carol Alwood

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