Monday, February 23, 2009

Guest Blogger: Jessica Burkhart

First, thanks so much to Lisa for inviting me to guest blog! I’m excited to be here.

I wanted to talk about passion and writing. Not passionate writing, exactly. But injecting passion into your writing. :)

When I started writing as a teen, I thought, “Ha! I’m going to write whatever it takes to get published!” If that was “10 Tips for a Great Kiss,” then I’d *so* do it. Yeah, like I had a lot of great kisses at fourteen. Um, no. Kisses, but not so great ones.

I sent out a zillion magazine queries or submissions for articles, quizzes and stories for things that I thought editors wanted to read. Surely, they couldn’t tell that I sooo didn’t want to write about fashion and animal cloning, right?


The editors knew. Editors have this special superpower that detects fake writing. Fake writing meaning, “Yeah, editor! I love (insert something here that you really don’t care about)! Can’t you tell?”

They know. They just know.

It took a hundred or so queries before I figured it out. Why was I trying to write about skateboarding when I really wanted to write about, well, myself?

I stopped writing bad articles and wrote a piece about what it felt like to move around a lot as a kid. I submitted the essay and bingo! Teen Ink Magazine published it.

I finally got it. If I wrote about things that I cared about, my work was that much better. My passion showed though on the page and the story was MINE. Unique. Different.

I kept writing about things going on in my life and that helped me rack up the publication credits.

Do I regret writing about personal things? Nope! Do I still publish essays about my life? No. I stopped. I got scared. I worried about having so many pieces out there when I published my first book.

But this year, I decided that I didn’t care. I’m writing essays again and will start submitting them soon. An annoying little voice kept telling me to write them, so I can’t ignore The Voice. :)

What are you passionate about? Would you ever write about it?

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