Saturday, January 12, 2019

Dear Writer, You're Not Alone

Dear writer,
Sometimes, when the sky is blotted with grey, you feel alone. Sometimes when you ramble about your shiny idea, they just stare. Sometimes, when you stay up frantically typing and finish, they say congratulations but don’t mean it. You look around, and the empty air peers back at you, telling you it’s just you. It’s just you.
So you close the laptop, bury under the covers, and fall asleep to tear-stains.
The morning whispers, “No one understands. They try, but they can’t. Or one cares.”
Your fingers hesitate on the keys, cursor blinking. You shut it and leave.
Days blur, with little words formed, and greater distance from the laptop and what's inside. Every time you sit down to add to your story, the doubts creep in. What’s the point of writing if no one will read it? After all, no one’s going to. It’s horrible, it’s awful, the worst thing you’ve ever read.
You shouldn’t be a writer.
The door slams close behind you.
You find yourself in other worlds between pressed paper pages, tucked paperbacks and stroked hardcovers. They’re so much better than you, these authors. You never should have written in the first place, the library leers.
You nod, back of your eyes burning, and sink down, and down.
There’s a layer of dust on your laptop.

But writer, you aren’t the only one who feels this way. You’re not the only one to feel like no one understands, to be discouraged, to let doubts shut down every word you write. You’re not alone. Every writer understands, every one.
Right now your story might not read like a published book, but those go through years of editing. Yours can and will be just as good, if not better.
People do care. About you, and about your writing. They might not understand what plot bunnies are or why you’re not finished yet, but you are worth more than the sum of your word counts. They love you, writer and all.
Then there are other writers. There’s the writing community. Talking to each other, sharing our struggles, is proof that you're not alone in what you're going through. Doubt chains all. The right friends, the right thinking, can set you free from them.
You are not alone.
So open your laptop, and trace the edges of the story you were shaping from a blank white screen, and take a deep breath.
You can write, knowing that you’re not alone.
And you never were.

Do you ever feel alone as a writer? What doubts do you go through? We're all here for you. <3

~~Melissa Gravitis~~ 

Melissa Gravitis is a Christian writer with a Thai heart, Aussie heritage, and international blood. Growing up overseas, she developed a passion for following dreams, and crafting Young Adult stories with vibrant worlds and characters that pop off the page. Though she doesn’t own any pets (yet), she has imaginary friends called Characters that she spends most of her days with. When she’s not with them, she’s jamming to music, sketching, or burying herself in books. You can read her thoughts and follow her writing progress on her blog, Quill Pen Writer.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Books to Read in 2019: Recommendations from the RW Team

A new year, a new pile of books to read! All of us at RW have a favorite YA book, so if you are looking for a clean read for 2019, this list is for you! These are either our members' favorite of all time, or ones that they discovered in 2018!

Catherine Hawthorn:
Emily Climbs by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

I recently read the Emily books when I was visiting my "sis" Lia. This book was full of fun little scrapes between four friends, academic struggles and lots of character growth. It's a great coming-of-age novel, and it shows how someone can attain their vocation (in Emily's case, writing) despite all the obstacles that life can throw at them. 

Clare A.:
Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin.

This is the perfect book for someone who loves to read! The main character, Alice's, life is turned upside down when her boyfriend breaks up with her because she reads too much. She is delivering books to small town when she is abandoned there! She has to take care of the library there and learns that maybe it is time to make her own story. Note, there were a few bad words, and a little violence, but other than that, squeaky clean!

Faith Thompson:
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater.

A book that takes the desert, turns it into a character, and brings it into your heart, this is the kind of story that we don't deserve, but that we can't help falling in love with. The conflict is quiet, and the story centers on one family--but it makes an impact nonetheless. Note, only ☆☆☆☆ for language as there is some profanity and curses, but very clean beside that!

Julian Daventry:
The Blades of Acktar by Tricia Mingerink.

So I read this series in 2018, and fell in love with it!!  Not only is it clean fantasy, it also has no magic, and lots of scripture references!  It may be a little more on the bloody side (after all, a number of characters are/used to be assassins, and there are very high stakes and torture and the like), but otherwise, no content to worry about.  Not preachy, but still full of the Gospel; and absolutely filled with adventure, cliff-hangers, and nail-biting scenes!

Keturah Lamb:
The Button Girl by Sally Apokedak.

This was one of those book gems that completely left me in love with book and author! YA Christian fantasy, but not of the cheesy sort. Relatable and riveting, with a strong theme centered around a young girl named Repentance who would rather die than be forced to "button" to a man and to breed slave babies for the evil overlords. But every choice she makes only leads her to more misery. Can she do anything without causing pain to others, or must she need accept that her life isn't hers to live?

Lila Kims:
Entwined by Heather Dixon.

It's extremely difficult to decide on a top favorite YA book, so I'm narrowing it down to my favorite YA fairy tale retelling, Entwined by Heather Dixon! This is a magical, feelsie novel that will sweep you up into the story and have you gripping your seat until the last page. Be warned that it gets rather creepy in regards to the villain, but other than that I don't think there's anything else of note. This is a clean read I highly recommend!

Melissa Gravatis:
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes.

It's a magical take on the story of Guy Fawkes, and combines magic and history in a whirlwind of fun, while also exploring what makes truth, well, true. Its strong characters draw you in, and by the end they'll have captured your heart!

We hope that your 2019 is filled with wonderfully clean books! And always remember to read and write rebelliously!