Monday, September 23, 2013

3 Inspired Openings: Kara Taylor on Writing for Yourself

Hey hey everyone! Happy Wednesday! We are so beyond excited to have Kara Taylor, the author of the wonderful Prep School Confidential, on the blog today!

Write for Yourself

One of the darkest places in my writing career came shortly after my first young adult novel went on submission to editors. After extensive revisions, I signed with my dream literary agent. Another round of edits later, the book was out of my hands and into publishers’ inboxes.

A few months later, the nervous excitement turned into waiting for passes. And the worst part was the creative block that had seemed to take hold of me. Every time I sat down to work on a new project, I couldn’t make it past the first few pages.

I didn’t have a shortage of ideas. Now that the book I’d been working on for the better part of a year was in publisher limbo, I finally had time to work on the other novels I swore I’d get around to writing. They ranged from a dark young adult contemporary to a sci-fi conspiracy thriller. But the “What ifs” plagued me; now that I was an agented writer, I had to focus on branding myself. I had to come up with a worthy follow-up to the novel on submission.

What if that book eventually sold? What kind of writer did I really want to be?

I vented about my anxiety to my now fiancĂ©. He shrugged and observed that I wasn’t bogged down with all of these problems while I was writing my first book.

“When you were writing for yourself, it was easy,” he said.

And he was right. When I wrote PLAN B, I was struggling with first-year-of-college issues. Insecurity. Anxiety over the future. Writing a book was my escape. All of my issues spilled over into my characters, and guiding them through their struggles helped me survive that difficult year.

Fast forward three years later. I eventually found the book that pulled me out of my writing slump. After I found Anne’s voice, writing PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL was easy. I’d finally found a character I wanted to spend time with—I didn’t care that I was writing a mystery when my last book was a contemporary romance. Writing about Anne felt like writing for myself again.

The truth is, writing to keep up with what we perceive that the market wants is exhausting. It’s crippling to creativity. It’s how writing starts to feel like work, or running in a hamster wheel. It’s how we lose sight of why we started writing in the first place.

These days, I have a lot of people to keep happy as the full-time writer of a series. My editors. My publisher. Readers. But when I’m putting the words on the page, I try to keep in mind another important person: Me. Because if I don’t, the words just won’t come.

About The Author

KARA TAYLOR is the author of PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, available now from St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books. The sequel, WICKED LITTLE SECRETS, will be out 3/4/14

She's also the writer and co-executive producer of THE REVENGERS, a dramedy in development at the CW network with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (CELESTE & JESSE FOREVER). 

She lives on Long Island with her sixteen-pound Chihuahua.  You can find her on her blog, on Twitter, or on her website.

About The Book

In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn't care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads


  1. Great advice on how to keep motivated and writing. Congrats on your book, Kara!

  2. Self -doubt is the main dish on the writer's buffet, isn't it? Good advice and the book sounds like something I would really like. Thanks for the post.

  3. Nice write up Kara. You are wise beyond your years. :)


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