I know I've talked about this in a couple ways before, but I can't really dive into the new Friday format without including it. =)
Today I'd like to talk a bit about Stephanie Morrill and, in turn, Shellie Neumeier, who go above and beyond to make the life of writing understandable and accessible to teens who dream of being a part of it.
I'll be focusing mainly on Stephanie solely because I know her better, given that she's my best friend. =) Stephanie (much like me) has been writing books since she was a teenager. Rather than attend college, she made the decision to work for her father's company out of high school so she would have more time to focus on her writing. She began learning about the industry, the business. Attending writers conferences, seeking agents, learning how to pitch and sell.
It ain't easy--not for anyone.
But Stephanie, after years of hard work, landed a three-book deal with Revell for a young adult series. Why young adult? Because that's where her passion lies. And as she got feedback from her readers, she detected a common thread. Many of them would email her saying, "I'm a writer too--do you have any advice for me?" After getting these emails for a while, Stephanie came up with the idea for Go Teen Writers.
I've mentioned before how much I love this site. It's a fabulous meeting place for young writers, a place for them to ask their questions about writing and get informed, considered answers. It's a place of encouragement and support. It's a place that gives hope that maybe these dreams aren't so far out there.
Having been beside Stephanie throughout her journey (metaphorically speaking--we live 1,000 miles apart. And only since we met in 2007 . . .), I can tell you that for a while she felt like blogging took from her without giving anything back. But once she hit upon Go Teen Writers, there was a definite change. Because all of a sudden she knew she wasn't just writing a blog to say, "Hey, pay attention to me!" She was writing a blog to help others. To make a difference. To give.
As a former teen writer, I can't tell you enough how awesome I find this--and how I wish it had been around ten years ago!
Today's a good day for me to talk about the teen-writers ministry, because the NextGen Online Writers Conference begins on Monday (which I blogged about a little while ago). Shellie Neumeier is the genius behind this fun opportunity for young writers, and Stephanie has joined forces with her to bring some fabulous writers together to offer their expertise. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a contributor. ;-)
If you know teens who are often at their computer or hunched over a notebook, scribbling their ideas onto the page, then you can't do better than to direct them to Go Teen Writers and the NextGen Writers Conference. Because you're never too young to have a dream--or to chase after it.
I invite everyone to (a) leave a message of encouragement for Stephanie and Shellie and their amazing work with teens and (b) check out these sites and direct young writers their way. If you leave a comment on today's post (or last Friday's, or any other Friday's coming up in August), you'll be entered to win a fabulous selection of books that will soon be making their appearance in my sidebar. ;-) Please be sure you're a follower! And for an extra entry, follow Stephanie's blog.