Go Big Or Go Home

Last month, I had one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had as a writer. As you likely know, Twitter is my favorite social media outlet (@Atina_Atwood). Well, I learned about a program called #WriteMentor, which specializes in paring writers with authors who are slaying it in either Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade, or Young Adult fiction. During a few promotional chats, I met two really inspiring mentors – Brandy Woods Snow and Haleigh Wenger.

Brandy is the author of Meant to Be Broken (Carolina Clay, #1). Check it out – it’s like a masterclass on writing gripping YA contemporary romance, sans kitsch. She’s a naturally inspiring person – to that, I can attest. During a chat, I don’t quite know how she did it, but ultimately, she inspired me to stretch out a YA short novella that I had into a full-blown novel. I walked away from the chat totally convinced that I should enter an international competition within TEN DAYS. And I went for it.

Let me elaborate because I still can’t believe I did this myself:

IN ONE WEEK, I WROTE 25,000 WORDS. I made a huge developmental edit and a complete overhaul of my manuscript within 8 days. By the time those ten days were up, I walked away with my very first full-length Young Adult novel on my desk.


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(Alright, after those ten days, I kind of hobbled away, looking like a frazzled, obsessive cat lady with slightly crazy eyes. But I did it. Of course, I couldn’t have done it without my husband, who is a rockstar, and my little rocking toddler!)

Mentorship is a Gift

Let me go ahead and say that although I was a finalist, I ultimately wasn’t selected for the coveted position. Interestingly, I’m okay with that. To me, it simply means that it was someone else’s time to make such a meaningful connection, and I genuinely wish them the best. My time will come in its own way – but I can assure you that I won’t wait for it sitting down. Also, Brandy has continued to be supportive in ways I never would have imagined, and Haleigh (author of The Art of Falling In Love) took the time to offer me some helpful advice that I really appreciate. Both of their mentees are fortunate to have them.

But y‘all – I’m walking away from this experience knowing that within a week, I slammed out 25K words in a genre that I don’t usually write in like a boss (okay, so let’s not talk about copyediting & A1 proofreading on this particular post, please – I did my best with the time constraints, *cough, cough*). Still, I got a request for a partial and a full, and got shortlisted. No, I didn’t win the medal, but I did finish the race. And what a hell of a race it’s been!

Don’t Stop, Won’t Stop!

To me, this is just the beginning. As long as I keep an open heart and mind, the right opportunities and people will come into my life. As that continues to happen, I’ll be more than happy to share these experiences with you, right here on my blog. This moment is exactly where my Faith and Confidence enter Stage Right, and I’m happy to say that both are shining boldly in the limelight. Now it’s time to wash, rinse, and repeat somewhere else – with hopefully more stellar results.

Do you have an example of where you’re currently slaying at the moment – or intend to slay at any minute? Come on and share! You’ll be surprised to see how many of us are rooting for you. 🙂

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, romance. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.


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