What I've Learned in June 2016: Lesson 3

6:00 AM

As you might have noticed, Stan had a makeover. Isn't he so pretty??? *swoons over baby* I'm not 100% sure I'm in love with all my changes, so if you have an opinion on it please tell me!

Today I'm going to be going over lesson 3 of the fabulous things I've learned this June. Would you like to know what it is? HMMMMM? *blinks owl eyes* 

Well. Over the three days of the writing conference, all the authors expressed such belief in us. They really, truly had faith that we would grow to be amazing authors. And it was so inspiring. 

In the month or so leading up to the workshop, we had to prepare the first three pages of our WIPs to become the best they could possibly be. I spent days editing, tweaking, reading, reading again, and applying critiques from my cousin (while critiquing hers in turn). 

When the day before our departure arrived, I was sick and tired of those first three pages. My cousin and I had nicknamed them #FEET (we make nicknames and hashtags of everything), and at that point to me, they smelled like it. How could I print out these stinky three pages? I couldn't. They couldn't see the light of day. NEVER.

But I was out of time.

So I printed out two copies: one for me, and one for the staff member that would be critiquing it for me. Everyone who entered a one on one critique was to leave their second copy of their WIP with their critiquer. The pages would then be considered among the others to go on for a THREE CHAPTER critique from editors from either HarperCollins or Penguin/Random House.

Such an amazing opportunity, right? So exciting! 

But not for me. Because in my mind, my writing sucked. It sucked a lot. It was so terrible, in fact, that I knew there was no chance in the whole world that my little manuscript could be chosen. Who cares about the hours upon hours of time I poured into it, the passion I felt (and still feel) for this story? It was terrible. I just wasn't good enough yet. 

But apparently, I was wrong.

My manuscript was chosen. The Thief's Conspiracy. My child. It was chosen to go to editors from one of my dream publishers. She called my name up first, and I sat in my seat in stunned silence, sure she hadn't really meant to call my name. Sure she'd made some big mistake. I sat there, staring calmly, waiting for her to say, "Oh sorry. I meant Hannah Smith." Or correct herself to some other writer who was better than me.

But she didn't. She waited until my arms moved and my feet tensed and I rose from my chair and walked up onto the stage to stand before the group of writers that I'd spent the last three days with.

I'd been chosen.

I couldn't fathom it. She called one name, and then another: my cousin. My cousin ran up to me and we hugged and that was when it really started to sink in.

This was happening. But ... how? How? How could this be happening to me? Nothing made sense. The lights were so bright up there, and everything was a haze of gold and gray. A smile grew onto my face, so big it hurt. I didn't understand how this could be. But it was. It had happened.

Which leads to the next lesson I learned this June.

Give yourself some credit. You are better than you think you are.

As a writer, I've always been full of doubt and confliction. Dangerous thoughts and questions swirl on my mind daily. Is this what God has planned for me to do with my life? But I'm really not that good. How can I write what He wants me to? How can I ever succeed in this career that holds my heart? 

This is my explanation for why I was gone all of June, and why my posts were so short in July. I've been slaving away ever since the workshop, whipping my first three chapters into shape. I sent them off on the twentieth. Ten days ago. 

The future is a big, scary place. Anything could happen. I don't know who The Thief's Conspiracy will go to. There are two editors. I don't know which one my baby will fall in the hands of. But I know God has a plan.

You are your own harshest critic. You think your writing is terrible? I can promise you, your writing is not as bad as you think it is. It never has been. You look at it and see the potential for what it could become, but it's never been terrible. 

Believe in yourself. Believe in God. He's got a plan, and it's bigger than you give Him credit for.

Go write, guys! Write from your heart. Let the words pour from your soul and onto the page. Smile! You are beautiful. God has a plan for you. And it is greater than you can possibly think, feel, or imagine. 

Do you have trouble giving yourself a break? Have you ever had an experience like this? Please share your stories! And if you have any thoughts on my blog changes, I'd really appreciate them! 


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  1. When I went to my conference, I definitely had some fears about critique group because we had to READ OUR FOUR PAGES OUT LOUD FOUR TIMES! It was nerve-wracking! But when I walked away, I actually felt encouraged. It honestly depends on the book. My book I wrote last November is crap, totally being re-written, but the book I wrote in April is amazing!

    1. UGH. That's horrifying! I just sat across from the acquisitions editor, fidgeting and biting my lip and waiting for her to finish reading. I had a different excerpt for my critique group, to which they did the same thing: they read, I squirmed and died slowly. XP I'm so glad you were encouraged by it! :D

  2. Yes Yes Yes this post was amazing and perfect in every way. Starting with the fact that I just got all excited again because OH MY GOODNESS YOU WERE CHOSEN!!!! asjdasjdn. But yes, this is totally an issue for me. It's always so easy to tear myself down, especially when I'm showing people something I've been working on, but I just try to remind myself that they probably want me to do well....probably...unless they're just tactless potatoes...and then I just try to not worry about it. But I mean seriously, who sits down, ready to hear what you've worked on, while saying to himself, "Wow...This person's really terrible. I haven't even seen them yet, and I have no reason to be against them....but I really hope they fail." Yah....I have yet to meet someone like that. xD
    Oh and Stan looks rather dashing today, if I do say so myself. ;)

    1. Aw tanks <3 <3 <3 You're so sweet! And yes, that's a good reminder hehe. I try to remind myself also that their world doesn't revolve around me, and even if they DON'T like my stuff, they probably won't care that much. XP

  3. I love the new design!! I'm sure Stan is very proud. :)

    Great post!! :)

    ~Megan <333

  4. Ahhhh, child, this is such a lovely post. But hoW DARE YOU NOT TELL ME ABOUT THIS, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO TALK TO YOUR MOTHER ABOUT IMPORTANT THINGS LIKE /BEING CHOSEN/. (And suddenly I sound like a dystopian novel. Huh.)

    And also, wow, Stan looks fantastic, but if you're looking for critique, he's kinda hard to read on a computer? The font/size/color makes me have to squint to read. Which is sad. But other than that, he's lovely! <3

    1. Thanks? *hides* I'M SORRY I FORGOT TO MENTION IT!

      And can you explain a little more? Like, the header is confusing?


    Also I looove the blog changes. It doesn't seem as crowded. However I think the title on the header is a little weird being pushed all to one side? Maybe spread it out so that it's more centered or at least stretches along the whole thing? (or ignore me because I will complain about anything that isn't perfectly centered so... xD)


      I'm so glad you like the changes! And I wasn't 100% happy with the pic either, but I fiddled with it foreverrr and couldn't get it quite how I wanted without having to change font colors and stuff. I might try fiddling with it some more, but .... IDK MAN.

      (Also: you did 20k in a day, right? THAT'S SO CRAZY DUDE. CONGRATS!)

    2. Welcomeee <3

      That's always the biggest pain xD

      (ALSO YES I DID. I REGRET EVERYTHING. IT SUCKED. But also was totally worth it)

    3. Hehehehe some strong contradictions there ... "I regret everything, but it was totally worth it." Writing is just a bunch of big, feelsy contradictions, methinks XP


    And that is a good lesson to learn. *nodnod*

    Stan looks lovely! :D

    1. Awwww thank you Emily!!! *alllll the hugs*

  7. Stan looks a lot more handsome now. *thumbs up*

    have you received the critique back or do you have to wait a while? I'm actually quite happy for you. Now your writing will meet THE PROFESSIONALS. And then your writing will improve and improve and then you#ll get published and then everything will turn out grand.

    And yes, we should put more trust in God.

    1. Hehe hopefully that's what'll happen XP I have no idea when I'll get my critique back, but I sent in 12k words so it'll probably be a while. *dies slowly*

  8. I love the new design, and I am so happy that your manuscript was chosen. That's awesome!
    Very inspiring post too!

    1. I'm so glad you like Stan's makeover! *beams*

      Thank you so much! <3

  9. WHAT AN AMAZING OPPROTUNITY FOR YOU!!! So proud and happy for you <3 I hope it goes well :DDDD

    And speaking of writing, Camp NaNo is over :( But, I just managed to reach my goal of 7K yesterday! :P Did you do NaNo this month??

    (Also, didn't know where to put this, but I don't think your email address is correct.I tried to send you an email but it didn't work)

    1. Thank you! <3 I'm praying hard about it, that it falls into the hands of the right editor that will connect with the story (art is such a tricky thing, after all) and will provide feedback that I can really benefit from.

      I did nooooot do it. I was going to, but since I was editing my first three chapters all month, I wasn't sure how to do that through camp nano. By the time I figured out you could actually make a goal of hours (I think?) instead of words, 'twas to late for me. BUT I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU! 7K in one day is such an amazing accomplishment! *high fives* YOU ROCK, GIRL!

      OH MY GOODNESS. *claps hands over mouth* I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS. WAHT. I'VE GOTTEN AN EMAIL BEFORE TOO, FROM SOMEONE WHO FOLLOWS STAN. SO HOW ON EARTH DID THIS HAPPEN?? I think I fixed it. LET ME KNOW! Or I guess I'll know when/if I get the email, lol. And thank you for trying to email me! That makes me alllll the happy <3

  10. I am still ridiculously happy for you, Hannah. You are an amazing writer. I just cannot wait TO HEAR WHAT THEY SAY. If you're willing to tell me. I understand if you don't, but it would be awesome to see how an editor does things. :D

    YOU ARE WONDERFUL HANNAH. A wonderful person and sister and I can't thank you for all the encouragement lately. <3

    1. Of COURSE you can read what they say! I'm not sure how they're going to do the critique, but I'd be happy to pass along what advice they give me :)

      YOU are wonderful, sissy! I'm so happy you've been encouraged. That makes me smile. :) I love you!

  11. Congratulations! That's amazing. And this post was so encouraging as well.

    Anyway, I think this is the first time I've been here, Hannah, and I must comment on the personification of your blog - it's excellent. I'm so glad to meet you and Stan. :)

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Jessica! *all the warm fuzzies* I'M GLAD YOU LIKE STAN! *showers you in coffee beans*

      *whispers* also, your blog is beautiful. I love the name!


Comments bring us happiness and warm fuzzies, so please share your thoughts! Stan and I want everyone to be welcome, so we ask that you be kind and courteous and use nice language.

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