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Snag That Dream Job: I wanna...be an author!

Author (and GL contributing writer!) Melissa Walker
Calling all aspiring J.K. Rowlings and Stephanie Meyers!

Meet Melissa Walker, author of fab and fun books (like Violet on the Runway and Lovestruck Summer) all about love, fashion, and pursuing your dreams! She’s like your cooler, wiser older sister who gives the perfect advice on how to blossom from book worm to literary butterfly. (Tip: reading Girls’ Life every month is a great place to start!)


We chatted Melissa up on all things writing, reading, and being an awesome author. She spilled her top secrets, and even gave us the 411 on the next best book to Twilight! (Shh…you didn’t hear it from us!)

SD: I’ve always dreamed of being an author … but I have no idea how to get that job! What should I be doing now?


MW: The best way to become a good writer is to practice (surprise!). Here are three ways to do that:


Keep a journal. Writing about your daily life may seem boring, but it will help you find your voice.
Start a blog—it doesn’t have to be full of secrets (that’s what the journal is for). It should be about something that interests you (fashion, cooking, reading, art...anything!).
Find out what writing opportunities exist at your school (Yearbook? Newspaper? Literary Journal?) and join the staff. You’ll learn a lot from advisors and editors, who might become helpful writing mentors.

SD: I LOVE reading, but when it comes to writing, I don’t even know where to start! So, what should I write about?!


MW: Write about your life, what you love, what bugs you, what inspires you—anything that comes to mind! Even just narrating your day will help you find a voice that fits. And don’t be critical of your own writing. Just let it flow—every word you put down is practice.


If you’re more into fiction, pick up a book of writing prompts (author Aimee Bender puts up a quirky prompt every month on her site flammableskirt.com). This month’s is: “One page that contains a broken gadget of some sort and a dancer.” Go!


SD: My friends make fun of me because I’m such a book worm! How can I find friends that like to read, too?


MW: There are a ton of teen book blogs where people get together to review and discuss the latest great novels (psst! You could always head to GL's Book Club section)! Plus, sites like readergirlz.com act as an online book group and let you chat with the author each month about the books you’re reading. Just comment on the blogs and you’re in the conversation!


SD: I LOVE Twilight, but a girl can only read that series so many times before it gets old! What are some new books I should check out?


MW: If you’re into paranormal stuff, check out Alyson Noel’s IMMORTALS series (starting with EVERMORE) and Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER.


If you’re a romance girl, my latest book, LOVESTRUCK SUMMER, will make you feel warm and swoony. (So will Elizabeth Scott’s SOMETHING, MAYBE and anything by Deb Caletti or Sarah Dessen!)


And if straight-up vampires are what you need, look into Mari Mancusi’s BLOOD COVEN series (the fourth book—BAD BLOOD—just came out!).

Two of Melissa's books...which PS you should pick up right now!

SD: My teacher says my writing is really good, and that I should “show it off.” How can I share my writing to the world and maybe win a few awards, too?


MW: There's a couple ways to do it! 


Starting a blog is the easiest way to get your writing “out there.” Find other bloggers whose style you like, and ask if they’ll share links with you so both your blogs can gain more readers. Soon you’ll have a growing audience of people reading what YOU write!


Got opinions? Newspapers love to feature teens’ and tweens’ thoughts, so send off a letter to the editor when you’re inspired. After you’ve published a few, talk to the editor about possibly starting your own column about a subject that inspires you.


Keep an eye on websites that list writing and scholarship opportunities for teens, like readergirlz and I Heart Daily, both sites that I help run!

SD: So did you want to be an author when you grew up, too?


MW: Yes, I totally did! I wasn’t sure it was practical, but it was my goal. I wrote for school publications, then interned at a magazine while I was in college, and became an editor. All that prepared me to… return to my teenage diaries and write books! It’s a dream come true.

BLOG IT OUT! Total bookworm? Love to write? Always wanted to be an author? What's your dream job?

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by Samantha Davis | 2/1/2016
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