A Letter to My Younger Self

By Melissa Hope

I've been waiting for this year my whole life: the year I publish my first book!

Becoming an author was always my dream, but it has been one of the most challenging things I've ever done. I'm still working hard to improve myself and my craft. Sometimes I wish my future me could pass on her wisdom for what lies ahead!

For now, I can only pass on the wisdom I have at present in hopes it will reach another aspiring author on their road to publication, and I've asked several amazing authors to join me!

Dear Younger Me…

"Keep your chin up when things don't progress how you thought they would. It's not the end of the world. And don't let anyone tell you how to run your career or which of your dreams are worth pursuing—only you know what you want and how badly you want it, and you can learn to ask for what you want."

- Melissa Hope, SEA OF KINGS

"Concentrate on character development. Readers don't connect to the plot––they connect to characters. More specifically, they connect to characters they understand. The reader can't know what to care about and what to root for unless they know what the main character cares about and what they are working toward. Learning to make that heart connection will be the tipping point in your writing career."

- Jessica Vitalis, THE WOLF'S CURSE

"It will take a lot longer to be published than you're hoping for and would like… but it's going to be all right. Keep persisting, and you will find the right people to champion your stories, and you'll also meet lots of amazing writer friends along the way. Just keep writing and enjoying the process of storytelling. And remember: You always have more stories in you."

- Sam Taylor, WE ARE THE FIRE

"I would tell my younger self to believe in my own voice, to guard and respect it, because no other voice is quite like mine. I would also tell my younger self to be my own best advocate even when the road feels rocky and winding. And finally, I'd tell my younger self to celebrate and find joy in the process because that's where creativity lives and grows."

- Anuradha D. Rajurkar, AMERICAN BETIYA

"Honestly, if I could talk to little Erica, I'd tell her to stay true to herself and that literally none of those people who made her feel small will matter in the long run. That her words have value, and one day, maybe not soon, but ONE DAY, she's going to hold her very own book in her hands. And it will be worth it."


"Relax and enjoy every phase of your life. There will be plenty of time to do everything you want to do. Stay present for each moment you're in."

- Megan E. Freeman, ALONE

"Write down all the stories Mom and Dad tell you about their lives. They don't like to talk about themselves, but pour them some tea and ask them oh-so-casually about what life was like in China and Taiwan. Then move on to their lives here in the U.S. and if it seems like the right moment, ask how they feel about it all. Your family history is going to heavily influence your writing, so take copious notes!"


"Keep writing until the end of the book or until that last period. Don't stop and edit what you've written….The draft will be a big, messy lump of words, but at least you'll have the whole story written down. Revising this messy lump of words makes it easier to shape, edit, polish, and perfect the story."


"It's okay to start books and never finish them. It's okay to write stories and never share them. It's okay to write about things your peers don't understand. It's okay not to write for days or weeks, or months. You're still a writer."


"Embrace that feeling of fear because it just means change is about to come. You're about to step out of your comfort zone and face challenges that will push your creative boundaries. Don't worry about other people's opinions—keep writing. You're doing good!"


Melissa Hope is passionate about helping writers improve their craft and connect with the writing community. She escaped the frostbite normalcy of Canadian winters to live in Florida with her family, bipolar cat, and growing collection of scuba gear.

Visit her website www.authormelissahope.com to watch free writing tutorials.

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