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  • Sierra Dougherty

Long Time No See...


Whether you write as a hobby or profession I'm sure you'll find much like myself that even a plotted, planned piece never goes according to plan. Which is fine, normal even. The goal is not to get discouraged. For instance, whether you're a planner, pantser, or combination of the two, you've likely been working on a project and gotten stuck. What do you do to fix this? Deviate. Sometimes our brains just need a little break. Whether you deviate from the plan or just put it all on the back burner for a while and work on something else you'll give your brain the opportunity it needs to refresh itself. Otherwise you start over analyzing every detail.

This is something I'm STILL working on. Having three finished CB (children's book) manuscripts feels great but I wasn't totally fulfilled. I felt like I hadn't got all I wanted out. Then begged the question of what is it that I'm trying to get out? Back at the 2017 SCBWI Summer Conference they said to write what you're afraid of. I started writing children's books because I felt like they were easy to conquer (boy was I wrong, but that's another story). The thought of creating a novel made me want to puke. I've always felt like I couldn't do it because I wasn't that detailed of a person. That I wouldn't have enough to say to create a YA book. Until I did.

I started writing a YA. Got 5000+ words into it and all of the sudden it stopped. I would add and add and add to the manuscript and then, I would revise. The only problem was every time I did, I was right back down to 5000 words. I couldn't make the story stick. I was racking my brain trying to conquer my fears and write a YA. I could do this right? Wrong. I kept getting to hung up on the details. Truth be told, this particular story was derived from a real life personal experience which I think also made it more difficult to write. Great, I tried writing what i was afraid of and failed. Total writers block. Talk about discouraging. I think when something like this happens to you as a writer its worse than getting a rejection letter.

I didn't write for about a month, at least not anything YA. Then, wouldn't you know, I went shopping at Five Below with my husband and our coincidentally five children and found a writing prompt journal. What the hell, right? It was after all only five dollars. I went through the entire book front to back in a day, but one particular prompt resonated with me. I'll leave you on a cliffhanger until my next book comes out, but I will say that this tiny prompt in a five dollar journal gave me all the fuel I needed to produce a thrilling YA just in time for NaNoWriMo. So heed my advice, give your brains a break, and don't get discouraged. You never know when or what will inspire you.


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