Meg Cabot (born in 1967) has written and published more than fifty bestselling novels, including Princess Diaries, Mediator, and Heather Wells series. Here are five quotes she has shared over the years that will help you with your writing!
1. Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.
The earlier you learn this as a writer, the better. When you start writing seriously, sometimes you feel compelled to write something you think other people might like. Readers out there. Agents and publishers. You think, hmm, this genre does particularly well, so let’s try something in that arena.
The truth of the matter is, in almost every case, your success as a writer will come when you write something you would love to read yourself. Something that for whatever reason isn’t in the world yet, and something that only you, with your background, your experience, your storytelling skills, can give us.
Focus on the story you want to tell for you, not the story you think others want to see.
2. I actually love writing for teens best. I had such an awful time in my own teen years — I love having the chance to relive them through my fiction.
I’ve never heard a reason like this for writing young adult fiction, but I kind of love it. I didn’t have a terrible time in high school. I had plenty of friends, enjoyed most of my classes, spent my four years being super creative writing short stories and screenplays, and making movies.
The one thing I did struggle with a lot during my teen years was being gay and having no one to turn to to talk about it. Such is why I’ve written many teen books over the years about gay kids in high school trying to come out of the closet. That’s an area I had an awful time in, and to me it’s worth exploring with many kinds of characters in many kinds of stories.
There’s something about the teen years that continues to fascinate all of us as we get older, and I am like Meg Cabot — there’s still a part of me that likes to relive those years when I’m writing my fiction.
3. Writing is a workout, just like going for a run!
I think I need to talk about this more on here, because it’s so very true. I often look at the writing I do for the day as a workout, particularly when I’m writing or revising a new novel project. We all try to work out every day. I know I do. Even just a thirty minute run with my dog in the early evening can be enough to satisfy me.
Such is the same with my writing. You find the time to exercise every day? Find the time to write every day, too. Think of writing as exercise. In fact, I like to make time every day for the big three, which I absolutely believe lead to a successful life. One, a little bit of exercise every day— good for your physical health. Two, a little bit of reading every day — good for your mental health. And three, a little bit of writing every day — necessary to keep your creative juices always flowing.
The best thing you can do as a writer is set a time every day to do some writing. It doesn’t have to be a lot. It can be twenty to thirty minutes even. But do it every day. Write or revise something every day. And see what happens.
4. Save your rejections so that later when you are famous you can show them to people and laugh.
Oh my God, I love this quote so much. Because it’s the truth of the matter in any writer’s life — you’re going to be rejected A LOT. Even the most famous bestselling authors of all time were rejected over and over again earlier in their careers. Just read about what Stephen King went through in his rejection life in his craft book/memoir, On Writing. You’d think someone like him would have been accepted from day one, but such was not the case.
I’ve written a lot on here about why you can’t let rejections get you down. I’ve been writing fiction seriously since 2010, and I still get at least one rejection pretty much every day. Almost every single day for nine years now. I don’t let them faze me. I don’t let them get to me. I keep working on the next project in the hopes that one day I’ll hear a ‘yes’ that will change my life.
So let the rejections roll off your back, and maybe save a few of them, too. One day, after you’re a rich and famous author, you’ll be able to share those rejections with others and laugh long into the night.
5. This is how many people become artists, musicians, writers, computer programmers, record-holding athletes, scientists… by spending time alone practicing what they love.
Writing takes practice. Days and days, and weeks and weeks, and months and months, and years and years of practice. Spending time alone. Spending time making mistakes. Failing, and failing big. Sometimes being rewarded with acceptances. Mostly getting rejected. Years will go by, and you’ll wonder, what the hell am I doing, do I have any talent, will anything ever come of this.
Here’s the deal — if you love to write, if spending time alone every day practicing, whether it be poetry or fiction or screenwriting or non-fiction, whatever it may be, then keep going. Don’t give up because the life you imagine for yourself hasn’t happened yet.
I’ve often said this to myself, often out loud on my most trying days: “As long as you love it, Brian, keep doing it. As long as it remains the most fun part of your day, do not ever give up.” And that’s the thing, I still love writing. I still love coming up with new story ideas, and new characters. Revising a good scene to make it great. Cutting a terrible scene I never want to see again.
As a writer, every day is a new adventure. And I have loved every minute of it, no matter what happens in the future. The only way to fail at writing, truly… is to give up. Is to stop.
As long as you love that time alone practicing your craft every day, you will get there eventually, I guarantee it.