*This story was originally published on teensinprint.com. Teens in Print is an inclusive WriteBoston program created to amplify the marginalized voices of eighth to twelfth grade Boston students.
Did you know that according to the New York Times,¨81 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them?¨
Even though books and reading are done in people’s everyday lives, they rarely think of the people writing them. Books play a huge role in our lives, whether it’s for education, or entertainment reading plays a vital role in our lives. As much as we know about books though, we know a lot less about the authors that create them, and what they do to make all of these books. Authors dedicate so much time and put so much effort into making the books that we know and love. So many people know and love the Harry Potter series. But do they know that it took J.K. Rowlings approximately seventeen years to write the series? Did they know she was rejected 12 times before people got to read about their favorite wizarding trio? So many authors and writing processes are less known to people who mainly focus on their amazing writing.
To shed some light on an amazing author and their writing process, I asked some questions to New York Times Bestseller, and full-time young adult fantasy writer Tricia Levenseller. She has currently published nine books and has been writing since she was 17 years old.
When talking about how her interest in writing started, Levenseller said that as soon as she discovered writing, she knew that it was what she wanted to do. “Before then, I thought I wanted to be an editor, but I found I loved writing and then editing my own work.” Levenseller has never regretted writing and said that it is better than she ever imagined. Many people may question if writing will be good for them, and second guess themselves about it. This shows how it may just be amazing for them like it is for Levenseller.
Levensellers favorite thing about writing was the editing stage. “It’s hard for me to put words on an empty page. I much prefer playing around with the words I already have until they feel just right.” She also responded by saying how she loved her flexible schedule and being able to write wherever and whenever she pleases.
When asked what her least favorite thing about writing was, she responded by saying, “…how writing starts to feel like work once it’s your job. It’s still joyful, but it isn’t quite the same as when you’re writing just for yourself.” Most people think that writing is such an easy and fun thing to do, but in reality, it is a hard thing, it’s not just writing a fun story and never getting tired of it.
Despite people thinking that writing takes a long time for authors, in reality for some, like Levenseller, it takes a shorter amount of time. For Levenseller, “It usually takes me 4–6 months to write a book. I would love to take longer, but deadlines don’t usually account for it.”
Levenseller wants people to know that writers are not just people who have time to write. “For me, it was sleep. I would wake up an hour before I had to get ready for school every day to work on my novels.” So many people think that writers have time to just do this, but in reality, they have to give something up to be able to do this. So while people are usually rushing authors, and wondering why it might take them so long to write, it might be because of what they are sacrificing. Authors are people who need breaks, just like everyone else.
In a final question, asking if there is anything else she wanted to add, Levenseller gave advice to people who want to aspire to be writers.
She advised readers and future writers a goal to help them in their writing process and creation. “For those interested in being writers, set daily word count goals. For me, I started at 1,000 words a day. If you set a word count goal and meet it, eventually you’ll have a book.” According to MasterClass.com, the writing process itself is a multiple-step process, not just making a book and selling it. The first step is to hone in on your book idea and ask questions like what the book will be about, why it is important, and what attracted you to the idea. The second step is to outline the story, “what’s important is that you have a roadmap for your future writing sessions.” The next step is researching, depending on what type of book you are writing will say how much research you have to do to make sure your book has enough context. The next step is to start your first draft and stick to a schedule of writing until the first draft is finished. After it is done it is time to go back to revise and edit for the second draft, to make sure that everything in your book is good. “The second draft is also a chance to address more granular questions.” The final step is publishing your book. This happens by either doing self-publishing or through a publishing house with the help of a literary agent.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of writers and authors is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031.” Lots of this comes from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force. So many more people have these amazing ideas they want to share with people through their writing, and they should. Those are just the people recorded, imagine all the new people who are coming out on social media and planning their new books too. People may second guess themselves, and think that their writing isn’t good or will be successful, but neither did any of the amazing writers. Like said in the beginning, JK Rowling got rejected 12 times. She probably believed the same, but she kept trying and looking at what it got her.