As I think about the years I’ve been writing, and what’s helped me the most, there are two things that come to mind right away. Continually writing. And continually reading. Those two things, no matter what else I’ve done, have helped me to move forward in this industry more than anything else.
Writing. I think so often I can get stuck on one idea. Trapped really. And I can beat that idea to death and write it and rewrite it. Edit it and re-edit it. When really, what I need to do, is let it breathe and work on the next project. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying not to edit the crap out of your books. (Have you ever seen the movie “She’s the Man” with Channing Tatum?? Every time I say do ‘the crap out of’ something I think of that movie and how Amanda Bynes says: “Kiss her if you want to. Kiss the crap out of her.” I love that movie.) So anyway, yes. Do that. Edit the crap out of them. But after you’ve edited. After you’ve let other people read. After you’ve edited again, based on others suggestions. While you’re querying, while you’re waiting for agent feedback, start your next project. Distance from a book is sometimes the best way for me to see it clearly again. Drafting is just as important of a skill to keep up on as editing is. So keep writing. Let your ideas flow. Sometimes it’s not the first project you worked on that will get you to the next level. But every project, regardless of whether it is published or not, is important to the process and helps growth.
Reading. It’s easy for me to get caught up in writing and forget to read sometimes. Reading accomplishes so many things for me. It lets my mind take a break from writing. It shows me what is going on in the market right now. It drills into my head good storytelling that I can learn from. And it inspires me. Whenever I read a good book suddenly my head is full of a million new ideas. It motivates me to write more. It gives me the desire to write more. It can pull me out of that slump that I sometimes get stuck in.
I know these aren’t earth shattering (or even remotely new) pieces of advice, but I think they’re so important. I could easily tell you what more specific things work for me when writing, but the funny thing about writing is that there is no right way to do it. Everyone does it different. Things that might work wonders for me, might not work at all for you. So do what works for you. And most importantly, write what makes you happy. Because it’s a long road and if you’re not happy while you’re on it, what’s the point?
About the Author
Kasie West loves to write--too much. It's a sickness really. Her debut novel, PIVOT POINT, is out now with HarperTeen. (And will be followed by its sequel, Split Second on February 11, 2014.)
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, her contemporary YA novel, was published July 2, 2013 (HarperTeen).
Her agent is the talented, funny, and sometimes crazy, Michelle Wolfson.
Check out Kasie's website
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About the Book
Pretty in Pink meets Pride and Prejudice
Money can't buy a good first impression.
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom's porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence: he's tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charm and the fact that he's one of the first people who actually gets her, Caymen's smart enough to know his interest won't last. But just when Xander's attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn't a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she'd ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?
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