Wednesday, May 20, 2015

9 Dear Teen Writer: The Worst Mistake You Can Make by Jami Gold

I am so thrilled to welcome the phenomenal Jami Gold to the blog today! Jami is well known among many writers as she has run her own fabulous blog for years, filled with insightful articles on items of interest in the publishing world and in a writer's life. Jami's not afraid to go deep and ask tough questions about changes in the industry.

I am also excited to have Jami here with us on the day of the release of her adult paranormal romance, Treasured Claim. I was fortunate enough to read this wonderful story of a shape-shifting dragon woman when Jami was still polishing it, and am so happy to see its release and beautiful cover.

Jami shares with us some great advice for teen writers who should never stop writing! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for a giveaway of her new release!

Dear Teen Writer: The Worst Mistake You Can Make, by Jami Gold

I don’t write YA, and my books are definitely for adults, but guess what? I remember what it was like to be a teen writer. And I know the absolute worst mistake you can make.

(Actually, this advice can apply to writers of any age. So read on… *grin*)

I was about 15 when I got in trouble with my school and my parents. My school didn’t appreciate the writing I turned in for a class assignment. They called my parents, who freaked out and demanded that I explain myself.

(The assignment was to write a short story. I chose to write a fictional diary entry from a disturbed character. A first person point-of-view rant with profanity. *ahem* Yeah, that didn’t go over well.)

As a teenager, I felt misunderstood.

I felt like I’d done something wrong by listening to my characters and following my muse.

Due to that discouragement, I didn’t write again for years and years.

Worst. Mistake. Ever.

Unfortunately, as writers, we have to get used to people being discouraging. There will be no end of those eager to tell us that we’re wasting our time, that we’re not cut out for it, or that it’s not a “real” career. Or we’ll encounter those quick to judge us by assuming we are our characters or that the morals or values of our characters reflect our morals or values.

That last issue is often a problem when we’re teens, when adults have some measure of control over our lives. Concerned parents can outright forbid us to write or can delete all our work. Talk about discouraging.

So if you’re a teen facing family, friends, or teachers who don’t get you or your writing—and they might, in fact, have forbidden you from writing—you have a couple of choices:

  1. You can fight and argue and make the next few years miserable for everyone.
  2. You can be sneaky and try to write without them discovering what you’re doing and hope not to get caught.
  3. You can see if your parents will save your writing so far on a flash drive for when you turn 18 or they realize you’re not going to go nuts.
  4. You can focus your writing energy on learning craft, plotting, and character building until you’re out on your own.
  5. You can see if your parents will permit you to write outlines of story ideas so you don’t forget the different turning points you planned to explore.
  6. You can talk to your parents (or other concerned adults) about why your stories speak to you (especially if they have a happy-ish ending or a moral/lesson) and share what you find interesting in the themes of your stories.
  7. You can try plotting out a story to share with your parents (or other concerned adults) and show how you come up with ideas for stories and for how characters act.

It’s up to you on how to handle it, but you’ll notice that “You can feel so discouraged that you give up writing for decades” isn’t on the list. I really don’t recommend that one. *grin*

I also don’t recommend the destructive options of 1 or 2. Destructive behaviors will just cause more problems and make your parents think you are “crying for help.” Besides, as option 4 shows, there’s work you can do to improve your writing skills until you’re on your own. In other words, the time won’t be wasted.

Options 3, 4, and 5 are best if your parents have forbidden you to write. Yes, it’ll suck to have to wait in order to write whatever you want, but you’ll be improving your skills and using the time to prove your sanity to your parents. And things may change next year or the year after that, especially if you mix in a bit of options 6 and 7.

Options 6 and 7 are best if the adults in your life are just worried about you, and you want to work with them to gain and keep their trust. Then your goal can be to get them used to the ideas in your head and work toward their understanding of what those ideas mean to you. With their comfort comes their acceptance.

No matter what you decide, use this time to make something positive out of the situation. Life will always throw us challenges, and the only thing we can control is how we respond to those challenges.

Whether we’re a teen or an adult, we’ll occasionally need to take a break from writing. Real life can interfere with our writing plans, and discouragement can leave us less than enthused about our options for moving forward. But that break doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Just don’t let discouragement make you give up or surrender your dreams. As long as you avoid my mistake of waiting for years to return to writing, you’ll emerge from your challenges as a stronger writer than before. *smile*

About the Book:
A shapeshifting dragon on the verge of starvation…

For Elaina Drake, sparkling jewels aren’t a frivolous matter. Without more treasure for her hoard, she’ll starve. On the run from her murderous father, she’s desperate enough to steal—er, acquire.

A modern-day knight seeking redemption…

Disgusted by his father’s immorality, Alexander Wyatt, Chicago’s biggest corporate titan, is determined to be a man of honor. Yet the theft of a necklace, stolen by an exotic beauty at his latest fundraiser, threatens to destroy all his charitable work.

A predator made prey…

Passion ignites between thief and philanthropist, sparking a game of temptation where jewelry is the prize. But when Elaina’s exposure jeopardizes Alex’s life, she must choose: run again to evade her father—or risk both their lives for love.

Available at Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Kobo, or go to Jami’s website for more information.

About the Author:

After completing a crime sweep of Diagon Alley, Jami Gold moved to Arizona and decided to become a writer, where she could put her talent for making up stuff to good use. Fortunately, her muse, an arrogant male who delights in causing her to sound as insane as possible, rewards her with unique and rich story ideas. Fueled by chocolate, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales that range from dark to humorous, but one thing remains the same: Normal need not apply. Just ask her family—and zombie cat.

Find Jami at her blog, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers


  1. Thank you so much to the AYAP team--and especially Susan Sipal--for having me here today...on my release day!!! *ahem* Yeah, I'm excited to share today with all of you! :D

    Thank you for the invitation, and I hope my advice helps someone out there! :)

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  3. Not a teen--but still resonated with your advice. It is applicable to ALL ages! Thanks, Jami.

    1. Hi Carol,

      You're welcome! I state that this is "The Worst Mistake Ever" slightly tongue-in-cheek, as obviously I got over it and succeeded at becoming a writer. :D

      But it's also obviously better if we limit our "giving up" periods to something a little shorter than decades. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. depends how poorly written it is

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Nicole WetheringtonMay 23, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    Not too much!

  7. I only get analytical when I can predict the ending of a novel. Usually formulaic romance novels make me analytical.


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