When I was little, I thought everyone wrote stories for fun. You got some paper, you wrote down the few words you knew in something resembling a narrative, you illustrated appropriately (my people had square bodies and no necks), you taped it together and presented it to your parents for their praise and awe. That was everyone’s favorite game. But one day I was scolding my friend for cheating at a writing game I’d devised when my mom pulled me aside.
“Not everyone wants to play writing games,” she said.
That was like saying not everyone wanted to eat cookies or watch Disney movies. This was a perfectly good game! Why wouldn’t everyone want to play it?
I kept playing writing games until the games became stories and the stories became a career path of sorts. I took creative writing classes in college, got my MFA in Fiction Writing, and started submitting stories to journals and queries to agents. Even though I’d always been very into children’s literature, I didn’t realize that I wanted to focus almost entirely on YA until I was in grad school. (It’s a fantastic genre and a wonderful time to be part of YA, but I’m sure I’ll post more about that later.) Along the way I’d met other people who probably would have had a great time playing writing games as kids.
Whenever I run into trouble on a particular draft or scene, I remind myself that writing used to be fun. No professional pressure, no worries about how to make the scene “perfect”–it was just fun. I take a deep breath and tell myself to have fun with it.
Fortunately, now seems like a pretty good time to have fun in the YA world. There are lots of awesome writers online who reach out to one another and enjoy wacky videos and witty banter. This is me, joining the game.