Do you know how incredible you are?

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s something I firmly believe in. If you are querying, or are out on submission, or doing anything where you’re receiving rejections, celebrate them. Want to know why? You are actively DOING something. You decided to go for your dreams, you didn’t just talk about it – you sat down and wrote and revised and then you bravely put yourself out there. You are incredible!

Seriously, you are. How many people do you know that are brave enough to wear their heart so openly on their sleeves?

I wrote five books and queried them for over two years, before I signed with my agent on my SIXTH novel. As you can imagine, I racked up A LOT of rejections. Some were form letters, others were personalized, and a decent amount were encouraging enough for me to keep going.

Sure there are days where you feel like giving up, or question your sanity, but that stuff will pass. Really. It will.

If you’re feeling particularly down, allow yourself a day or two to regroup. Do something – ANYTHING – other than writing or querying. Go for a walk. Make a fancy dessert. Rent a bunch of movies and laugh until you cry. Watch a baseball game. But whatever you do, stay away from your computer.

Do not check your email. 

Do not touch your project for 24 solid hours. 

Read that book you keep putting off.

Meditate. 

By the end of the day you’ll start to feel something. You know what that is? It’s hope blossoming in the pit of your stomach. That’s also passion for your work. An entire day away from it is hard. You miss it. How can you even think of giving it up now, after you’ve come so far?

Now take that query letter back out and see what you can do to improve it. Do the same with your manuscript. Then get back out there and try all over again.

You know why I used to celebrate my rejections? Because I always believed that better things were in store for me. I just couldn’t always see it at the time, but I had faith it would all work out. I am a firm believer in the saying, when one door closes a better one opens.

Keep knocking and your door will open.

What’s even more impressive is this: you are learning so much about yourself. Look at how strong you are. You fell down, but you got back up again. I bet you didn’t know you had that kind of inner strength before.

Thank you for being incredible. 

25 First Sentences

If you’re a writer, you know how difficult it is to nail that elusive (and all-powerful) first line. Writing an entire book is often more enjoyable (and possibly easier) than coming up with that griping, you’ve GOT to read on sentence. Here are 25 first sentences from pretty amazing books that you can mull over this weekend. Recognize any of them? How does your first sentence compare? Does it set the tone of your novel?

First Sentence:

1. “So you want to know all about me.”

2. “He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.”

3. “My mother used to tell me about the ocean.”

4. Daddy said, “Let mommy go first.”

5. “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.”

6. “The ornate script on the board twisted in the candlelight, making the letters and numbers dance in my head.”

7. “The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.”

8. “I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids.”

9. “There is one mirror in my house.”

10. “Janie Hannagan’s math book slips from her fingers.”

11. “Enders gave me the creeps.”

12. “I smile at myself, at the foolishness of my imagination.”

13. “I’ve been locked up for 264 days.”

14. “It is my first morning of high school.”

15. “The first time I died, I didn’t see God.”

16. “I used to be someone.”

17. “Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom.”

18. “A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories.”

19. “I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.”

20. “It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.”

21. “Sing, O Goddess, the anger of Achilles, son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans.”

22. “They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “the Death Shop.””

23. “I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.”

24. ““Where are you?” Aunt Hannah demanded as soon as Alex thumbed talk.”

25. “The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.”

Authors and titles:

1. Ellen Hopkins CRANK

2. James Dashner THE MAZE RUNNER

3. Carrie Ryan THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH

4. Beth Revis ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

5. Suzanne Collins THE HUNGER GAMES

6. Michelle Hodkin THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER

7. Scott Westerfeld  UGLIES

8. Lauren DeStefano WITHER

9. Veronica Roth DIVERGENT

10. Lisa McMann WAKE

11. Lissa Price STARTERS

12. Ally Condie MATCHED

13. Tahereh Mafi SHATTER ME

14. Laurie Halse Anderson SPEAK

15. Megan Miranda FRACTURE

16. Mary E. Pearson THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX

17. Rae Carson THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

18. Aldous Huxley BRAVE NEW WORLD

19. Jack Kerouac ON THE ROAD

20. Lauren Oliver DELIRIUM

21. Homer THE ILIAD

22. Veronica Rossi UNDER THE NEVER SKY

23. Orson Scott Card ENDER’S GAME

24. Ilsa J. Bick ASHES

25. Marissa Meyer CINDER

Dream bigger…

My Critique Goddess (aka Taryn Albright) posted this picture on her blog last week, and I HAD to share it with you. Go out there and do the things you think are impossible. You are capable of so much more than you can ever imagine.

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