Dear American Girl,
I've been working hard on a short story, and the other day, I finished it. When I went to open it on the computer, it had been deleted! My brother confessed to accidentally deleting it. I'm so upset that I'm not sure if I want to write anymore. To work that hard on something only to lose it all is so frustrating. I'm thinking about giving up writing for good. After a setback like this, is there any way I can motivate myself to try writing again?
-Almost an author
Here's your advice:
Even though your story was deleted, don't give up. If you love writing and it makes you happy, don't be afraid to start over. Every author experiences setbacks. Who knows? Your new story might be even better than the original one.
-Katie, age 13, Nebraska
One way to prevent losing another story is to print the next one on paper and keep it somewhere safe. If the story gets deleted again, at least you'll have a backup.
-Shelby, age 9, California
It was an accident. Your brother deleted your story, not your passion for writing. So why should you give it up?
-Beth, age 11, Virginia
Brainstorm a bunch of fun story ideas. Do some research on topics that interest you, too. The idea that you enjoy researching the most will probably make for a good new story.
-Greta, age 12, Minnesota
Whoa, hold on! You can't just quit like that. If you've worked really hard on this story, you might remember most of the details. Starting over could be a chance for you to revise and edit your story, too. Give the story another try.
-Veronica, age 11, Missouri
I love this saying: "No one wants to feel pain, but you can't have a rainbow without the rain." In other words, losing your story is upsetting, but this setback could be an opportunity for you to become an even better writer.
-Aubrie, age 13, Kansas
Maybe this is a good time for you to take a break from writing and do something else you enjoy, such as making crafts or trying out for a school play. That way, you could come back to writing feeling refreshed and ready to start another story.
-Fiona, age 12, California
Read lots of books by your favorite authors—they might motivate you to start writing again.
-Audrey, age 9, Texas
Think about Thomas Edison when he invented the lightbulb. He failed multiple times. Every time he failed, though, the lightbulb got better and better. After this setback, I'm sure that your new story will be even better than the first one.
-Esther, age 13, New York
Maybe you could write a story about this experience. You could write a story about a girl who loses a story she's worked hard on, or maybe just a story about someone who experiences a big setback. Lots of writers get inspiration from their own lives.
-Cecilia, age 9, Massachusetts
Think about writing and why you love it. Do you really want to give up writing for good? Over one mistake? Everyone makes mistakes―nobody's perfect.
-Emily, age 10, California
It sounds as if you might be letting your feelings get the best of you. Relax, and after you've calmed down, think of your first story as a rough draft. Your first story probably was great, but is there anything you'd like to change? Now is your chance to write an even better version of the story.
-McKinley, age 11, Texas
That happened to me—I wrote a chapter book on paper, and water spilled all over it. Take your time to cry, breathe in and out, and tell your brother that you forgive him. Then move on and start another story.
-Maci, age 8, California
When you sit down to write, set a timer for 30 minutes. Every 30 minutes, give yourself a reward, such as playing a game outside. You should pat yourself on the back for giving writing another try.
-Elizabeth, age 10, Georgia
I love to write, too. I keep an inspiration journal that I can look at whenever I need a story idea. In my journal, I write descriptions of people and things I see in nature, feelings about different things, and anything else that inspires me. Try keeping a journal, too, and before you know it, you might feel motivated to write.
-Emma, age 12, New York
You don't have to write a story. Take some time to write other things, such as a poem for a friend's birthday, a song for your mom, or even an article for your favorite magazine. There are lots of ways to write!
-Liliane, age 11, California
A setback like this might seem awful at first, but it actually could be a motivator to help you work even harder at something you want to do. Giving up an activity you love will only make you feel worse. Trust me―I'm a writer, and on countless occasions, I have considered giving up writing. But I never do because I love it. Always do what you love!
-Emma, age 12, New Jersey