• Danielle Mamaril

10 Things I Learned While Drafting

1.  Routine is Crucial

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single writer in possession of good ambition would be in want of more time.  I woke up every morning at 5AM and wrote for two hours before school which is as horrific as it sounds. Add onto the fact I’m a lazy teenager, however, it allowed me to get my daily word count in.

2. Find My Mind Palace

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During those mornings, I’d write in Starbucks and I learned what was my ideal writing environment.  I’m a homebody but being around other people just ensures that I stay on task. Asides from feeling like a real writer in a café, it would also be embarrassing if someone looked over my shoulder and knew I was watching Phineas and Ferb.

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3.  Learn What Works

When I started outlining, I tried every technique out there.  I used the snowflake method, flashlight, three acts, four acts, you name it.  Although the two that worked the best for me was the sticky method and fifteen beat structure.  I had to modify the both of them for what suited my needs. It’s all just a matter of trying to figure out what worked through failure but never giving up.


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Stephen King said that in order to create art, one has to consume art.  Who am I to argue with Stephan King? Artists draw inspiration from art.  I’ve already known how to read for pleasure, but reading for education was a whole other ballpark.  With every novel I read, I’m expanding my vocabulary, learning about a writer’s voice, how sub-plots intertwine, and so much more.

5.  Marketing Can Be Fun

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Marketing sucks.  I became a writer because I enjoy writing!  I didn’t become a writer to dance with statistics but hear me out, marketing can be fun if you make it related to your writing.  Wow! I’m just as surprised as you are. I used reverse psychology on myself and it’s actually starting to work out. I’ve started to find some joy in vlogging and blogging.

6.  Lack of Practicality

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For the most part, writing isn’t a remotely sustainable job. I’ve had to stare face to face with reality and the likelihood that my dreams won’t happen.  The statistics aren’t in my favor so I needed a Plan B that I’m happy with.

7.  My Writing Sucks

I’m a teen writer which means I am incredibly young.  I also don’t have much experience not just in writing but also in life.  That means I’ll be ignorant. Being a newbie will ensure that the only art produced is questionable at best, complete crap at worst.

8.  It’s Okay to Suck

I’ve seen myself improve with more practice.  Art isn’t a talent for most people, it’s a skill that one hones through hours of fine tuning.  I know in a couple years I’ll be reading this back and cringe at my old writing.  I wouldn’t have gained the education to cringe if I didn’t suck at first.

9.  I Don’t Need Approval

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I don’t need anyone’s approval because I won’t be getting it anytime soon.  Even I can admit the ludicrous ambition of a teenager wanting to be a New York Times Bestseller is ridiculous.  I won’t be getting anyone’s approval until I prove them wrong, so in the meanwhile all I need is my own approval.

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10.  Critique Partners are Amazing

I’ve found a couple of critique partners that I trust and damn-I’m so thankful.  It’s such a relief to have other teen writers in my life that are just trying their best.  Having people I can share my novel with is a safe haven I thought I would never be able to afford.

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