Anyone Can Become a Writer

Anyone Can Become a Writer
Posted on 01/30/2018
Anyone Can Become a Writer

Authors P.J. Hoover and Jessica Lee Anderson shared the same message Monday and Tuesday with Nacogdoches ISD students: There’s no established path to becoming a writer, and anyone can do it.

Hoover and Anderson are perfect examples. They took different routes to publication, and now both are celebrated authors of books for children, teens and young adults.

They’re also best friends; both live in the Austin area.

“You are not too young to be an author, and you’re not too old,” Anderson told students Monday at Nacogdoches ISD’s Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary school. To prove her point, Anderson used as examples a 9-year-old who’s been published along a 102-year-old woman who just got her first book into print.

“Everyone has their own unique path to publication,” Anderson said.

Hoover’s presentation Monday afternoon at Mike Moses Middle School followed a similar tack.

“You do not have to be born an author to be an author,” said Hoover, using her own pathway to publication as an example.

Hoover graduated from college as an engineer and spent 15 years working as a computer chipmaker in the Austin area before deciding, at age 34, she wanted to write.

“I believe I can do anything,” Hoover told the middle schoolers. But she also learned “writing a book is hard work.”

That theme was shared by Anderson as well, and both authors emphasized to students that perseverance is required to get a book published. Both have received hundreds of rejection notices from publishers along the way, they told students.

In fact, the first “Tut” novel Hoover wrote took more than seven years to complete. “I don’t write books, I rewrite books,” she told the students. (“Tut” follows the fantasy of the “boy king” from ancient Egypt who now finds himself trapped in middle school. Fantasy and science fiction were among Hoover’s earliest interests as a young reader.)

For Anderson’s book set in Uncertain, the author physically traveled to East Texas, looked around the town and stood on the bank of the lake. “I listened to the sounds the birds made,” she told students. That extra effort provided Anderson with more depth to include her story about a young girl intent on winning a $1 million contest to get a photo of Bigfoot. 

Anderson and Hoover urged students interested writing to begin writing now. “You can’t wait until you’re perfect to get started,” Anderson told the students at BQJ. “No one is perfect.”

Both authors suggested students get into the habit of writing daily, even if it’s just a page or two. At that rate, they said, the number of pages can add up to hundred or so over the course of a couple months.