On Positivity, Publication, and Pushing Forward

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Publication as a teen isn’t impossible, but like any endeavor, it isn’t easy. I want others out there to know that you don’t need to wait to pursue your dreams of publication – but you should also remember the importance of positivity and continuing on even when the road ahead seems bleak.

Growing up, I was always writing. My stories would become longer and longer, until one day they were novel length. And like most writers, I was a voracious reader. While stories of teen authors were far and few between, I’ve always believed age should never be a restriction for following your passions – no matter how old or young you are. So I polished my work and sent it out to the world.

I started submitting my stories to agents and publishers when I was thirteen, and it’s been five long years of rejection letters until this point. I’m incredibly grateful to be standing where I am now, but I also recognize the potential rejection around every corner.

As a writer, it’s important to remember that not everyone is going to like your work. You will run the gamut between five-star reviews and one-star reviews. Criticism is nothing new, but social media and the anonymity of the internet makes reading critique of your work more accessible than ever before.

No matter where you are on your path to publication or wherever your creative aspirations may take you, always remember to stay positive. Be thankful for what you’ve been blessed with, and trust that everything will work out in the end.

OneLastLetterThat’s exactly what I would tell my fifteen-year-old self. At one point that year, I received three rejection letters in the same day. I thought, “I’m never going to be published. No one will like my work. I should give up!” If I could go back now, I would tell the fifteen-year-old me to have faith. When you have a dream in mind, you have to keep pushing forward no matter what obstacles stand in your way.

When I read critique of my work, whether it’s from a reviewer or an editor, it reminds me that I have so much to improve upon and there’s still so much more to accomplish. I think, “Okay, I’ll write a better story next time. I’ll take this critique and make my work stronger than before.”

TheInnocentAssassinsAt the same time, don’t get so caught up in negative critique. Seek out all the inspiring reminders of why you’re pursuing your dreams. I also read positive reviews, e-mails from readers who liked my book, and submission acceptance letters from my publishers. If you’re going after a goal right now, start gathering your positive reminders. They’ll help reinforce your belief in your work when the going gets tough.

There will be days when you feel like losing hope. There will be times when you worry you’re wasting your time, or that the dream you wish to pursue is far too outlandish to ever be reality. Understand the critique and use it to improve. Read the positive reminders and reinforce your sense of purpose.

But don’t ever give up, and don’t ever stop pushing forward.

{Originally published on Relate Mag}

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