Before I get to today's post, a couple of announcements.
First, on Thursday, Ch1Con revealed our new design and announced our exciting new partnership with Teens Can Write, Too! (TCWT), an awesome blog/community run by the fantastic John Hansen. We're teaming up in order to bring you a GIGANTIC TEEN WRITING EMPIRE OF DOOM. There's a lot of stuff going on in line with that, which you can learn about in the announcement posts by Ch1Con and by TCWT. The main thing I wanted to tell you guys is that I am now an admin, editor, and blogger at TCWT as well as Ch1Con! So keep your eye out over there for my posts.
Second, after a rough first week, I'm finally catching up on my NaNoWriMo word count. Trying to create a relatable character out of a mental illness while staying true to the nature of that illness and the fact that the OCD is, essentially, a "villain" in this story is a wonderful challenge. I'm enjoying it a lot. 😊 Yay for #OCDStory!
Okay, on to today's post. In the past, I've touched on this topic, but TCWT's theme this month, which is "Beginnings," has led to me thinking a lot about my journey so far. So today I'd like to talk about my very first fans as a writer.
I started writing at a pretty young age, as you know. When I was younger, I was a lot more vivacious. I talked about my writing all the time. When I finished my first "full-length" novel at the age of 11, I had a group of friends already ready to read it. (Beta readers for the win!) I was probably pretty pushy about it, but they were very enthusiastic and supportive nonetheless. Even though I ended up throwing out that book after one friend who hadn't read it got mad about the title (the book was called THE DRAGON SLAYERS, in reference to the villains, and she was concerned about dragon rights), I had a lot of encouragement right from the beginning. That mattered. It may even have affected my decision to keep going as a novelist, although it's hard to say.
One of those "first fans" is still my best friend today, and she continues to support me as much as ever. She's fantastic at reassuring me that I'm not total crap as a writer, and her reactions really help me to gauge the emotional impact of my stories. (I'm especially grateful that she still stuck with me even after I callously rejected her illustrations for my early books in favor of another friends' pictures, LOL. Friends don't make their friends compete with each other, children.)
Another one of my "first fans" stands out in my mind because of her lasting enthusiasm for my writing. Through middle and high school, even as we drifted apart, she continued to seek me out for my books and even got her mom interested in them. I had a really surreal conversation with the both of them at the beginning of high school when she returned a rough copy of my book to me. Until then, I hadn't known she had shared it, but her mom's words of praise mingling with hers made me feel like a "real" writer for maybe the first time.
In between elementary and middle school, I joined Write It!, where I found my writing friends, who form another set of important "first fans." Many of them I got to meet last summer at Ch1Con, which was awesome! They also mean a lot to me as a novelist. When I got replies on the first book chapter I ever posted on those online message boards, I printed all of them out. I don't have them anymore, but I remember how incredibly happy I was to have other writers telling me I had something good! It was through Write It! that I learned how to take critique and rejection--and how to give it. It was there that I first envisioned the place I could occupy in the writing community. I wouldn't be the person I am today without those girls.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that writers get a lot of rejections, critique, and heartbreak in their careers, but we also get a lot of support and love. My fanbase may be very small right now, but they still mean the world to me. So thank you. Thank you so very much. 😊
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