QOTW: What Does LTWF Mean to You?

8 Oct

This week, in honor of our 1-year anniversary, we decided to share what LTWF has meant to us as individuals over the past year.


Okay, so I could go on and on about this. Really. I could basically talk (type?) your ears (eyes?) off…and then some. So I’ll try to be concise.

LTWF completely changed how I saw publishing and the book industry. Or, more accurately, it opened my eyes to the business in general, since beforehand, I felt very much an outsider looking in. I’d done my research (or so I thought. We’ll talk about my first query letter for HYBRID one of these days…and all the reasons it sucked), read all the books, and pored over the articles on Agent Query. But it wasn’t until I joined LTWF that I realized what a vast community of writers there is out there. For the first time, I didn’t feel like the only crazy teenaged girl dreaming of getting a book published–and actually having a book finished.

LTWF introduced me to Twitter and Livejournal. That alone is huge, lol. My first real critique partner ever was Savannah, who honestly almost made me cry the first time she started read HYBRID and told me she absolutely thought I’d get an agent with this book. The girls at LTWF believed in me more than I did myself a lot of the time, and though I was secretly terrified I’d let them all down, their support and help (with queries! and inane agent questions! and all the wonderful revision notes!) meant so, so much to me.

Also, LTWF introduced me to all of you!! All you great writers out there who share the same dream I do and are working so hard to achieve it. You guys inspire me and I’m so proud to know such great people.

Okay, so I promised I’d keep this short. In the end, what does LTWF mean to me? It means the best friends a girl could ask for. It means endless support. It means talking at 4 am in the morning about who should play Peeta in the HG movie and having someone to hyperventilate with you because you just got THE CALL.

It’s the best thing. Ever.

-The Writer Who Just Signed With A Literary Agent


Wow, Kat, you made me tear up. Never lost faith in you 🙂 I jumped more at your signing than I did mine!

Like Kat, LTWF introduced me to the culture of publishing, and its members taught me almost everything I know about it today. But I almost wasn’t a member at all.

True confession: I used to hate Sarah. Our stories were ‘live’ on FP at the same time, and though our fans sometimes overlapped, she had a larger following, and always beat me in the contests. Therefore, I hated her. 🙂

Years later, Sarah reached out to me out of the blue, right when I was facing a writerly existential crisis. If she hadn’t have remembered me and decided to get in touch, I never would have had one of the more awesome writer experiences of my life. Sarah and I bonded instantly, sending epically long emails to each other, and when she invited me to join this group she and Mandy Hubbard had concocted from former FP authors, I was all for it.

And then my education began. Suddenly I had a friendly and energetic network of young writer to turn to with any question, regardless of how ‘dumb’ it was. I learned not only from my experiences, but theirs as well. Sarah personally taught me proper writer etiquette, what exactly ‘subs’ were, and shared her awesome work with me while providing valuable and insightful critiques for my own.

LTWF has been there for me, every day, unfailing, for the past year. I went through the hardest time in my life earlier this spring and summer, and often the only bits of happiness in my day came from retreating into the emails from this writer group. We debated about Pride & Prejudice, teased each other endlessly, shared music, and spent evenings just hanging out on Skype, sometimes not even saying anything (shout out to Biljana). I believe that every active member is exactly where she should be, and I wouldn’t change our group dynamics for anything (except to add the perfect new contributor 😉 )

The greatest part about LTWF, however, is the platform it provides for us to give back. Having spent so much time wandering in the land of N00b, I place a high value on being able to help other writers just starting out, and sharing the wisdom I’ve learned. Every grateful, excited, or encouraging comment reminds me again how important it is to bring transparency to the publishing process.

When I was active on FP, I wrote for the love of my reviewers. Here at LTWF, I write, edit, plan, schedule, critique, and shop for the love of our readers. We have a lot of fun behind the scenes, but we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. ❤

-The Writer Condensing Three Books Into One (Read an excerpt here!)


These responses are making me tear up! ❤ Sav and Kat.

To me, LTWF means waking up to twenty emails in my inbox every morning, and being excited to read them. It means talking to wonderful people about everything from music  to My Little Pony. And of course, talking to super talented writers about writing and the journey to publication. Basically,  LTWF means an amazing sense of friendship and camaraderie to me. Not just amongst members, too – there is a sense of community I associate with LTWF that has everything to do with readers, and with the legions of blogging aspiring authors out there.

I found my way over to LTWF, earlier this year, and I remember in my earliest contact with members of the group there was that same sense of writers being a community, and outreach. Last year, it was Sarah who read all my crazy LJ posts either angsting about querying, fulls and partials, my woeful attempts at writing synopses (I actually think my first attempt at writing a synopsis would have failed so hard if not for her). She was one of the first people I sent crazily happy emails to when I got my offers of  representation, and next up was Mandy who was so wonderful when I practically bombarded her with my questions about agents. So from the very start, I’ve known LTWF to be a giving place, where paying it forward was valued.

After I joined the googlegroup, I kind of just fell in love with all the members. The LTWF girls have had a profound influence on my writing, and the way I view publishing, and have become a big part of my life – to the point where when I found out I was going away to South Africa over the summer and was going to be without internet, my immediate reaction was not, “Cool, holiday!” but “How am I going to keep up with my LTWF girls?!”.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I think it takes a village to raise a writer, and their novels. To be somewhat sentimental and corny (I can’t help it), Let the Words Flow is my village.

-The Newest LTWF Contributor


I’ve been a religious reader of LTWF since last winter, when I really got serious about publishing. I stalked this blog for any tips or tidbits I could pick up and apply to my own writing. It’s where I learned how to begin the search for an agent, what went into actually getting published, and how much work it would be. Out of all the websites and blogs I visited, LTWF was by far the most helpful.

So when I was offered the chance to become a member, I was overjoyed and incredibly humbled. Coming from a very different (but equally amazing) writing community, it was certainly an adjustment. There were new people to get to know, new readers to connect with, and a whole new world of writing to explore.

But I’ve treasured every second of it.

The girls here have been so kind and generous with their advice and their friendship. I love waking up to a guaranteed pile of emails, and I look forward to Wednesday check-ins like you wouldn’t believe. Everyone here is so different, but I think it’s the perfect combination of personalities. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and publishing, since I joined this past summer. Now I don’t feel so lost amidst this crazy industry, and it’s been incredibly helpful to have a group of fellow writers who are all working toward the same goal. It’s also been great getting to know some of the readers as well! I love that everyone involved with LTWF is striving for the same thing and can offer each other constant and continued support. Sometimes I think I might have given up if it weren’t for the constant support I’ve received from you all.

But more important than learning about publishing and writing, LTWF has provided me with a whole new group of friends. It’s been so incredible getting to know these girls. They’ve been there for me through numerous ups and downs, and are always there to cheer me up and keep me going. They’ve helped me through rejection letters and roommate drama. They’ve looked over my manuscript and cracked jokes about everything under the sun. I may have been intimidated at first, but it didn’t take long for me to get over that. Now I feel right at home, and can’t imagine my life without the LTWF ladies, or our awesome readers.

So thanks, everyone, for making the last few months so incredible ❤

I’m afraid I might start getting all sentimental on all of you, and I apologize in advance. But I want to start off by saying that I am constantly amazed at these women, and grateful to be able to these amazing women friends. 

LTWF has meant a lot of things: lunch dates with Biljana and June (love you!), geek out sessions over books and all things publishing related (or over Florence and the Machine), numerous email and skype chats, and a place to meet and talk to people who love books and writing as much as I do.

LTWF has meant that I’ve started really writing again. I joined while I was a literary agency intern who decided on a random whim to contact Sarah one day – and good thing I did, because she actually responded to me (you wouldn’t believe how nervous I was)! Now, I can’t imagine what life would be like without this blog’s readers and contributors. I joined while on a hiatus from writing to focus on my career, but the girls inspired me to pick up the pen (figuratively, since I write on my laptop!) and start writing again.

LTWF has meant being able to actually get in touch with other writers and help them, as a person on the other side of the publishing industry. And after all those queries, partials, and fulls I rejected, I finally had a way to help people on the path to getting an agent, and to getting published (because as much as I tried to be helpful in my rejection letters, I knew that I wasn’t able to REALLY help those writers without overstepping my bounds).

LTWF has meant being able to talk to writers from FP who I had loved and admired – writers who had inspired me for years. And having them believe in me was awesome (like finding out that Savannah liked my prologue. I’m pretty sure I squealed). And now I’m able to call those same people my friends. I’m able to ask their opinions, swap ideas, and just goof off.

I could go on, but I think I’ll spare you and just say: I love every minute of being a part of LTWF.


What has LTWF meant to me?

I’ve never been the girl in the center of the clique.  I’ve always had friends, but I’ve never had close friends who understood the writer in me.  My husband is a songwriter and musician, so he has always been there to support me on my “artist’s journey,” and for most of my adult life, that was all I really needed.

Then I joined LTWF.  I had “met” Mandy online and I knew of Sarah and Savannah from FictionPress, but I wasn’t really expecting to find myself suddenly on the inside of this amazing group of women.  Practically overnight I was immersed in the endless behind-the-scenes conversations about writing and publishing, and for the first time in my life, I knew what it was like to have a group of friends who truly understood what I was all about.  As writers, I’m sure you will all know what I mean when I say that we writers think differently.  We daydream more than the people around us do, we enjoy solitude and silence more than the people around us do, and we like to talk about ideas for premises and querying and agents and manuscript revisions FAR MORE than anyone around us can generally tolerate.  Then one day I found myself surrounded by all these wonderfully like-minded friends!  It was the most amazing discovery of my entire writing life.

The girls of LTWF have been my constant companions since I joined.  They are always there to listen to my submission stories, they always care about that new idea, they always (even at two in the morning!) will talk about the latest trends in the industry.  And our readers have become my friends, too.  So many of you have commented on my posts in the most enthusiastic ways, and I’ve even had the chance to chat one-on-one with a few readers outside the blog.  The few online chats we’ve had with readers have been so exciting because they’ve widened our circle and let so many of our readers share in the support, fun, and madness that is LTWF.

All of this has added up to a huge change in me.  My husband walked into the room one evening when all of us were on Skype and pretty much all talking at once, and he remarked that he’d never known me to be such a “girly girl.”  Now, don’t take this the wrong way.  This isn’t to say that a guy would never fit into our ranks.  What my husband was referring to was the high energy and intensity that characterized the conversation.  After many years of marriage, he said he’d never known me to gel with a group of friends like that.

And he’s right.  Because until this year, I’d never met the girls of LTWF.  ❤

-The Writer Rewriting Her Novel


I’m not a sappy person, so believe me when I say Let the Words Flow has changed my life. I’d never had writer friends, never even really talked to other people about the process of writing before joining LTWF. I had very little idea how the publishing world worked, how to write queries, or how to revise effectively. Essentially, I was adrift and on my own. Then the girls took me in, welcomed me into the community and showed me how it all worked. It was amazing and I couldn’t believe that all these talented, lovely people were taking time out of their busy lives to help me.

Without them I would not be improving as a writer. Without them I probably would have given up on querying by now. Without them I might even have let my dream of becoming published be subsumed by things like grad school and my pessimism. Without them I wouldn’t have such a supportive network of friends to talk about everything from writing to my latest life crisis with. Without them I can’t even imagine where I’d be right now.

I absolutely adore all of my fellow contributors, and all of the readers I’ve interacted with over the past few months. Even if it was just reading your comments. I think we really have a community here, and that’s a wonderful thing to find when writing can be such a lonely pursuit. I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve done and everything we’re working towards. I feel like everyday could bring some more wonderful news (like Kat signing with an agent) or more engaging and insightful conversations. I’m thankful for all of you and so grateful to be a part of this group that I can’t even express it fully. Thank you all for being wonderful.

-The Writer Also Querying


There’s really no way for me to fully explain what this blog and this group of superheroes has done for me in the past year. I draw a blank when I start trying. They’ve become so much a part of myself that to step away and sort everything out is utterly impossible for me. Nor can I even begin to count the number of things I’ve learned. I didn’t even know what a query was until last January. I didn’t know how extensive the process of getting published actually is. I thought the reason I was spending so much time on my manuscript wasn’t because I still had a lot to learn, but because I was a perfectionist who’d never be satisfied.

Just attempting to put this into words makes me see that I’m incredibly lucky. I’m surrounded by a group of people who give me all the support I could ask for. I have readers that read my articles and understand exactly what I’m trying to convey. That reach out and start up epic conversations in the comments, and join live chats, and help build this community we have. Even the silent followers, the ones that read every day but never comment, are appreciated. More than you can imagine. Because even the silent followers add to this space, give a fullness to this effort, and validate the struggles that we all share in the road to publication.

And the friendship within the group… All of these ladies have become so dear to me. The feeling of total acceptance is inexplicable. It’s something that you don’t know until you’ve experienced it yourself, and something that I share with a very limited number of people. When they have good news, I jump for joy more than when it’s mine. My heart breaks more for their hard times than when I run into trouble. I get angry when somebody’s insulted even when I don’t really care too much when someone insults me. And in return, I get the most amazing, marvellous, irreplaceable feeling of being part of something that is so truly what I am, and what I aspire to be like, and what I feel I will become.

The love we share for art and expression is profound.

I couldn’t be happier.

-The Writer Editing Her Massive Rewrite of a First Novel


If you didn’t tell us yesterday with Sarah’s wonderful post on our one-year anniversary, tell us now! What does LTWF mean to you personally?

And tune in tomorrow for our fabulous anniversary giveaway!




37 Responses to “QOTW: What Does LTWF Mean to You?”

  1. A. Barone October 8, 2010 at 12:13 AM #

    What does LTWF mean to me? This site has been a source of inspiration for the last year. I look at all you wonderful ladies who are on various stages of the publishing journey and I realize that if you can do it, so can I.

    But more than that, the articles that have been provided are insanely helpful and I find myself eagerly awaiting the next installment and marveling at how all of them help me in one way or another.

    So, from the bottom of my heart thank you so much!

    • Kat Zhang October 8, 2010 at 12:57 AM #

      Thank you! 🙂 I know I find myself inspired by so many people in the online writing community, and I’m so happy to be a part of something which can inspire others in turn.

  2. Amie Kaufman October 8, 2010 at 12:54 AM #

    Thank you for a year of fantastic articles, interviews, tips and the occasional guilty admission. The joy you all take in the community you’ve formed is obvious, and it’s a joy to be a part of it!

    • Kat Zhang October 8, 2010 at 12:58 AM #

      Thank YOU, Amie! We would be nowhere without our readers 😀

  3. Aurora Blackguard October 8, 2010 at 1:04 AM #

    Well, you know how I feel 😉 Okay, indulge me and let me say this one more time.


    • Biljana October 8, 2010 at 1:44 PM #

      :D:D <3<3

  4. Sammi K Walker October 8, 2010 at 2:15 AM #

    First and foremost, LTWF means that I’ll get to finishing reading QOG. That’s how I found LTWF. But it ended up becoming so much more. It introduced me to what it’s like in the publishing world (which before hand, I knew nothing about. I didn’t even know there were agents for books). It’s inspiring, and friendly, and open, and just overall amazing. 🙂

    • Sarah J. Maas October 8, 2010 at 4:37 PM #

      😀 😀 Thank you soooo much!!!! I’m SO thrilled you’ve found LTWF to be useful and friendly! And a HUGE thank-you for all of the support. You’re amazing.

  5. Corina October 8, 2010 at 6:26 AM #

    I think I’ve only been subscribing to LTWF for a couple of months now. I found the site through Sammy I’m pretty sure, probably from twitter or something. But I have to say it’s probably one of the most informative and helpful, yet still personal, blogs that I’ve ever seen, and I can’t even imagine coming across one that could even being to be quite so amazing.

    It’s been really helpful. I think, because I’m still very much starting out on my journey as a writer, despite having decided to write my first novel over seven years ago, it’s really given me a realistic, but also hopeful, outlook for my future as a writer.

    You guys are great!!
    Corina 🙂

    • Kat Zhang October 8, 2010 at 4:52 PM #

      Wow, thanks, Corina! That means so much to us 😀

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio October 13, 2010 at 3:57 PM #

      Thanks so much Corina!!!!! ❤ Knowing that we're able to share and help is one of the greatest things – and that we're able to do that while at the same time be accessible.

  6. Jess October 8, 2010 at 7:05 AM #

    Awww. You’re adorable.

    What does LTWF mean to me? Hm.

    This will sound dumb, but hope. You’re all so crazy in love with writing through good and bad and being there as a writing community, and it’s just so inspiring that no matter how alone we are writing, there are others like us. So even though the writing journey is long and treacherous at times, there are lights along the way. You’re definitely some of those.

    I have great writing friends now, but they aren’t also all friends with each other, so it’s nice to know a bunch of people who also know each other, too.

    • Biljana October 8, 2010 at 4:38 PM #

      That’s just the greatest thing to hear! Hope! That’s exactly it, in one word.

      Thanks, Jess :).

  7. Lincoln Law October 8, 2010 at 7:18 AM #

    LTWF has meant, personally, a chance to see other people writing and developing and gaining success. It is a promise that all that us hopeful authors can get success at some point. The blog has been there for the past year to remind me of things I may have forgotten, given me hope when I needed it, and provided a grounding when my hubris became too much for even my own head to withhold. It has been brilliant seeing the different levels people are at, and seeing the opinions of the wonderful ladies of this blog.
    But most of all, it has been a platform of support through the good and the bad. So thank you, and bring on another year!

    • Kat Zhang October 8, 2010 at 4:51 PM #

      I’m so glad we’ve been a help, Lincoln! 🙂 We look forward to the next year, as well!!

  8. Renee October 8, 2010 at 2:49 PM #

    I’m pretty new to LTWF, only been following it for a few months. I was linked to it through Sarah’s LJ, I think. And my writing has improved immeasurably since I started following. You all know your stuff! Your dedication to your projects and the bond between all the writers here inspires me so, so much. Thank you for this website! Here’s to many more years! *toasts*

    • Biljana October 8, 2010 at 4:34 PM #

      Thanks, Renee :D. SO glad you’re finding it helpful :).

  9. Cassie October 8, 2010 at 3:46 PM #

    I can’t even articulate how excited I felt the first time I stumbled upon LTWF. I think I was reading someone’s profile on FP when a link showed up, and I clicked it. It was one of the best things I could have ever done…I know how cheesy that sounds, but just bear with me.

    I’m the type of person who keeps many things bottled up – my anime obsession, my collection of domo-kun paraphernalia, and, shockingly, the fact that I love writing. None of my friends know – I tried bringing it up one day and they just gave me this sort of “Oh…that’s cool…” response before moving onto the next topic. I would like to tell you that it didn’t hurt even a little bit, but then I’d be lying. I get really excited whenever a new idea pops into my head or when I finally bang out that chapter that’s been a real pain to write. So when my friends, a group who I went to Daisies with in kindergarten, just shrugged off something that I consider a vital part of my existence, it really threw me off. I found that I couldn’t write anything that wasn’t either crappy or horribly depressing. In the words of Austin Powers, I had lost my mojo.

    So then I tried to talk to my mom about it. She was a bit more open about it, which really helped me out. But then she insisted she talk to a friend of a friend, (who works in the publishing industry), about getting one of my stories published…even though I’d just gotten finished whining about how I couldn’t complete a single one of my (many…too many) WIPs. Let’s not forget to mention that she never even read any of them, even to this day. I don’t like to focus too much on those incidents, so let’s move on by saying Mom relies a bit too much on blind faith…

    Anyway, sometime after that, I was on FP reading someone’s profile. I can’t remember whose it was, for the life of me. But there was a link to this site and a little message that apologized for having taken down all her stories, but that was what her agent had suggested. I followed the link and it was, again, the best thing I could’ve ever done. Imagine my shock, after becoming so disillusioned from those two incidents, stumbling upon an entire community of other writers around my age. Writers who had come from FP (and occasionally FF.net) just like me! Suffice to say, my mind was completely blown upon realizing that these same writers were either already published, in the process of being published, or were already working with agents. To me, you couldn’t be an author if you weren’t over 35…like the president or something. It just wasn’t possible for people my age to have their works considered seriously enough to warrant an actual book deal. Unless they were child prodigies, it just didn’t happen.

    Before this gets any longer (like that’s possible…?) I think I should wrap this up with a single line: LTWF *completely* changed my outlook on writing, not even specifically sitting at my desk and typing, but the entire spectrum…whatever you think of when you hear the word “writing” is what I now (affectionately) associate with LTWF. To me, LTWF is the reaction my group of friends should’ve had. It’s the way my mom should have handled the prospect of getting one of my works published. But mostly, LTWF is my own personal haven – it’s where I can go when I want to be my(weird, crazy, distracted, otaku)self.

    I couldn’t possibly love this place more if it was covered in chocolate…but OMG how great would that be?!

    • Jess October 8, 2010 at 4:15 PM #

      “To me, LTWF is the reaction my group of friends should’ve had.” I love how you put this. It’s exactly right. My family and IRL friends know about and encourage my writing, for which I’m grateful, but none of them UNDERSTAND it. LTWF does.

    • Biljana October 8, 2010 at 4:33 PM #

      This was an absolute pleasure to read. I know exactly what you mean about the reactions. I’m so glad that this blog means so much to you and you should know that readers like you keep me writing these articles more than anything else.

    • Sarah J. Maas October 8, 2010 at 4:36 PM #

      Cassie, I just wanted to let you know that I was in TEARS by the time I got to your final paragraph. I’m beyond honored and touched that you find LTWF to be a haven. 🙂 Thank you SO much.

    • Kat Zhang October 8, 2010 at 4:53 PM #

      (with chocolates)


    • Vanessa Di Gregorio October 13, 2010 at 3:54 PM #

      I used to be really embarrassed about a lot of things (in high school, especially) – and I only felt comfortable talking about those things around fellow geeks (fellow anime lovers understood my love for anime and manga; fellow visual artists understood my love of graphic novels, angst-filled poetry and my weird “art”; fellow gamers understood my burning need for new video games; and fellow fanfiction writers accepted my total fandom writing. Now, fellow writers understand why I write and love books as much as I do, and I totally agree that it’s the greatest thing in the world.

      People need to have other people to geek out with and talk to. And I’m glad we’re those people for you and your writing ❤

  10. Jennifer October 8, 2010 at 8:10 PM #

    Through varying circumstances, I lost my writing buddies a while ago. They had been my cheerleaders, not only in writing, but in the rest of my life, so losing them was devastating. I stopped writing in part because they had inspired me to do so, and later found that I couldn’t write at all.

    Since I had been writing for others, I had forgotten why I even started writing in the first place. LTWF has helped me remember why, and I can’t thank you enough.

    • Biljana October 9, 2010 at 1:18 PM #

      We’re indescribably glad to hear that :).

  11. Armith-Greenleaf October 8, 2010 at 9:09 PM #

    I’m a huge LTWF fan(girl). Seriously. Well, you ladies have probably noticed I comment *a lot* and I’m always on the lookout for new posts. Every time I read someone talk about how they’re thinking about trying to publish and wondering where to find good info about it, I link them to LTWF (freelance PR here!)

    I found the blog on someone’s FP profile (not a contributor’s, if I’m correct) and when I read what it was about, my mind drew a blank. I was stunned. The first time someone told me to pursue publishing after reading a story of mine, I was like “Yeah right.” and then I miraculously found LTWF and thought…

    “Maybe it really is possible.”

    That’s what I’ve been thinking about this past year. The more I read your posts, advice and comments the more logical it sounds that I should try–the more I want to. LTWF and all of you have inspired me to want more.

    So, thank you. I hope to one day fully join you all in the publishing world. In the meantime I’ll continue admiring you all. ;D

    • Biljana October 9, 2010 at 1:21 PM #

      Try! 🙂 We’re so happy you feel this way about LTWF :).

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio October 13, 2010 at 3:33 PM #

      You should definitely try! ❤

  12. Joan October 9, 2010 at 12:24 AM #

    LTWF is a place where I see writing getting done, being revised and queried… Writing being published and dreams achieved. LTWF is a place to learn and share ideas. LTWF is always changing, always adapting and always moving forward.
    I love each of your opinions and posts. Cannot remember how I found out about LWTF but I’m so glad I did.
    I love how Saturday Mashup always directs me to cool new links and inspires me with weekly doses of awesome writing quotes.
    Viva LTWF 🙂
    Love you girls~

    • Biljana October 9, 2010 at 1:21 PM #

      Thanks so much, Joan :). We’re glad to have you.

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio October 13, 2010 at 3:32 PM #

  13. Ella October 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM #

    Rambling time. Late on the uptake, but…

    My journey as a writer has mostly been a solitary one. My family is neutral toward it, as are most of my friends. They know it’s something important to me, but I don’t think a lot of them know /how/ important. It’s pretty awkward to tell your parents that your book involves serial killers – or war crime – or incest. It’s difficult to explain to someone who isn’t a writer (or isn’t as obsessed with it as you are) what it feels like to wake up with your story in your head, to be continually living your life with one foot in an alternate plane. When every song you hear reminds you of your characters, and every experience comes equipped with their running commentary. When it’s become your lifestyle. Like E. L. Doctorow once said: “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

    It was very difficult for me to find other teens who wrote books, and I had trouble connecting with those few I did find. Some of them just weren’t as crazy as I was, and the rest simply outclassed me. I didn’t want to be anything other than a writer; yet I often didn’t feel like one because I couldn’t pound out more than a few hundred words a day – because I didn’t read Jane Austen or have a Livejournal – because for a very long period of time I ended up staring at a blank screen every time I sat down to write. I spent a lot of time listening to other people talk about their books but very little time sharing my own, for the simple reason that I didn’t think it was ready to be shared. I had the dream in my head and the will to make it come true, yet I hated everything I wrote and stalled starting on my WIP for months. Confronted with all the great books in the world, I felt like I was really just being pretentious, calling myself a writer and pretending that I understood what everyone was really talking about.

    LTWF, as the first and only writing community I’ve subscribed to, has changed that perspective. It’s been a gradual process. I’ve never met such a warm and giving group of people, who are interested not only in improving their own craft but in helping others to do the same. Most people wouldn’t invest so much effort into benefiting an audience they don’t know personally, especially getting nothing back in return. But I’m grateful you went ahead and did so. You guys taught me so much about querying, publishing, and writing in general; but more than that, you helped me understand that there were others out there like me. That there were great people willing to cheer me on for no other reason than the fact that I was a fellow writer; that the mistakes I’d made weren’t as large and unfixable as I’d previously thought. You showed me that I wasn’t the only one who spent all her waking hours in a fictional world, talking to fictional people and recording fictional events. You showed me that I wasn’t wasting my time asking “what if?” and “why not?” You showed me that there are other teens out there interested in things besides high school drama, and that even someone young and stupid can speak to the world through a book. You showed me that I wasn’t alone.

    I always thought I’d end up writing, editing, querying, and publishing my book without any outside help. I thought I’d have no one to tell when I got the Call, and no one to throw a party for when I got published.

    You don’t know how grateful I am to you for proving me wrong. c:

    • Biljana October 9, 2010 at 1:28 PM #

      My parents still don’t really know what the hell my book’s about, mostly because of the same reason you gave; I just don’t feel ready to share with people that don’t have the same love of writing as I do. People that don’t have this just see the mistakes and the roughness, and not the potential.

      Thanks for your story, and I’m sure I speak for us all that we’re extremely happy and flattered that you reacted to LTWF in this way :).

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio October 13, 2010 at 3:31 PM #

      I’m going to sound like a total sap, but I’m trying not to cry right now.

      I went through the same set of emotions for a long time. My friends didn’t understand. My brothers all thought it was a giant waste of time.

      But then I slowly started meeting people who understood, and then I became a part of this blog long after I had brushed aside my dream in order to pursue a career. And I couldn’t be happier. I’m so glad that we’re able to help, and that this has become a community of writers who share a love for the same thing.

      Thank you so much for sharing. It means the world to all of us. (And when you start querying, or get the call, we want to know! <3)

  14. juleswood October 9, 2010 at 2:16 PM #

    Oh, man. It’s been that long? Time flies when you’re young and passionate – and I think that’s what LTWF is all about, being young (at heart and in soul, if not physically) and passionate (about writing, about friendship, about life). You translate your love for writing and one another so well. I think that’s what keeps me reading. No, more than keeping me reading, you keep me enthralled, excited to read the next email full of writing advice or personal news. It’s like being able to witness the dynamics of a real group of writers, like the Beats at Columbia or Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, and Stein. Tolkien and Lewis. The Bloomsbury Group. I don’t mean to compare you to literary greats (yet, lol), since I know that can be off-putting, but I AM comparing you to the dynamics between them. The way that writers seem to find each other and support one another and produce great work. And I’ve always imagined what that would be like, but LTWF is the first time I’ve really gotten to experience it first-hand. And it’s so inspiring for me. It gives me hope that one day I’ll find my group that will encourage ME to be great, that will come to my wedding, and that will jump up and down when I finally, finally make it. (And still love me if I don’t.)

    In short, LTWF has given me hope that I will one day find a community as great, and enough entertainment and advice and FANTASTIC links (good work, Vanessa) to tide me over until that time. Your successes are inspiring, your hard times are dismaying. You’re like a really good novel. You’re bringing your readers along for the ride. 😀

    With love and appreciation,


    A hesitant P.S.: I sent an e-mail about a week ago (I think – oh dear, college makes me lose track of time) about the YoungArts program, and I’m afraid it may have been offensive/off-putting? Or maybe you’re just still deliberating. But in any case, I did not mean to come across as aggressive or assuming – I just thought it’d be a wonderful opportunity for LTWF readers, since I know that most of the subscribers to this blog are young aspiring writers. 🙂 Anyway, just wanted to make sure I didn’t make a wrong move with that email, and assure you guys that it’s all up to you. The deadline is October 16th, so if you’re still considering/wouldn’t mind dropping a little note about it, there’s not much time to allow the writers to get their registration done!

    Thanks again. 🙂

    • Biljana October 12, 2010 at 8:14 PM #

      Heyyy SO sorry about that! You made absolutely zero wrong moves. We meant to add it to the Grab Bag but it must’ve slipped through the cracks :(. Just sent an email! We’ll blurb about it tomorrow.

      And thanks so much for your wonderful comment :).

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio October 13, 2010 at 3:23 PM #

      Jules, that was totally my bad! I meant to add it to the Saturday Grab Bag, and forgot. Whoops! Thanks for the reminder!!!!

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