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This is the secret to writing a book according to a teen author

Hey book-loving babes: Ever thought of writing your *own* book? If you have, you probably the struggle is seriously real (where do you start? how do you get inspiration? what about writer's block?!). Fortunately, Sarah Hamilton has a thing or two to say about that. The mega-inspiring teen author has published two books (The Enchantress and The Lies We Tell) and is showing no signs of slowing down. To help you try your own hand at becoming a writer, she's sharing her top 10 tips to slaying your story below.

1. Read and write often.
Reading and writing as often as possible keeps you in the right mindset while providing additional inspiration and creativity. Read what you enjoy, but feel free to change it up by reading something new. A new genre (whether you like it or not) may provide additional insight into your writing abilities.

2. Organize your ideas and inspo.
Having a notebook with your ideas, no matter how detailed or vague, can keep your ideas in one place where you can continue to look back on for inspiration. Some ideas may grow over time while others may stay on the back burner forever, but just having them available keeps your mind (and your thoughts) organized.

3. Take advantage of special moments.
Inspiration may not happen all day, everyday. You may not find yourself able to work on a full book during a structured timeframe. So, write when you feel like it. Sometimes, it helps to have a specific writing schedule, but if you find yourself writing a lot on some days and times more than others, embrace the times you are most inspired.

4. Plan!
Having an outline of your story definitely helps. There is a particular structure to every story and if you work out the details in advance, the process goes a lot smoother. Plan out the major details and even those details that may never make it into the story specifically (like character quirks and historical events you created for the storyworld). Having a plan is a great way to keep organized and better construct your story.

5. Be spontaneous.
Planning is great, but some of the best moments in life are spontaneous… and the same rule goes for writing. Let your writing move the story along. Some days, not having a plan and simply writing may surprise you and turn the story down new, beautiful paths. These are the parts of the story that simply write themselves. Also, while you are writing, if there is a part of the story you simply cannot wait to write, just write it and fill in the gaps later on. Nobody says you have to write in chronological order.

6. Make a soundtrack. 
Since I dabble in the worlds of both creative writing and filmmaking, I really love to visualize my writing as a movie. That being said, one of my best pieces of advice is to simply create a playlist dedicated to your writing to listen to. Listening to this playlist while writing and even when just going about your daily life brings your story to life. Cinematic instrumentals are amazing for setting various scenes of your writing.

7. Write first, edit later.
First drafts usually suck. Plot holes and that dreaded post-middle part of a story make writing difficult sometimes so the best thing to do is to write as much as you can and then edit it down later. Editing is a process in itself, but getting to the end of the first draft is inspiration enough to go back at the end and rework the story.

8. Find inspiration everywhere.
There are so many ways to be inspired—reading more, taking part in creative writing groups, watching moves and television shows, listening (or even, making) music and taking part of other creative art forms are all great options. Take in the world around you, too. Sometimes, the best stories are happening right under our noses.

9. Write unapologetically.
Typically, writing the first thing that comes into your mind is the key to your best work. (Seriously, writing before even thinking about what it is you are writing helps.) You can always change things around after the initial statement is made, however, the first thing you write is typically the closest as to what you mean. As long as you stay true to what you want to write down and avoid coming across as offensive, writing without censoring will guide your work.

10. Believe in yourself.
Writing isn’t easy and neither is writing a full book. However, if you have a passion for writing, then you are a writer. Believe in yourself, your work and your goals and dreams. Being persistent and always carrying belief on your side is a very powerful way to achieve success.

Bonus: Writing is a journey. Just like a great book, there are ups and downs. Once you have a book together, make sure that you love it. Share it with close family and friends for additional advice. Once it’s actually ready for publishing, look into the various publishing paths and discover which path is right for you. 

If you wrote a book, what would it be about? Tell us in the comments! 

Photo credit: Tumblr.

by Sarah Hamilton | 10/3/2017
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