Swoon Author Jennifer Honeybourn: Words of Wisdom

My dream, ever since I was in the second grade, was to one day walk into a bookstore and see a book I’d written on the shelves. So when I got the call in March 2015 that Swoon Reads wanted to publish Wesley James Ruined My Life, it was a life-changing moment for me. Now, with the release date just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I got here, and I thought I’d share a few bits of writing wisdom that have really resonated with me over the years. 

Read a lot

If you want to be a writer, then you need to read. Seems obvious, right? This is an easy one, at least for me, because I love to read. I read all genres, although I tend to gravitate to YA books. 

Write a lot

Whether your thing is writing or basketball or music, if you want to get better at it, you have to practice. I don’t write every day, but I do write a lot. I wrote several novels before Wesley James Ruined My Life, and while those books will never see the light of day, they were the best way to learn how to write a novel. There are also many great craft books out there that can help you develop your novel or just encourage you along the way—one of my favorites is Stephen King’s On Writing.   

Develop your voice

If you’re a writer, you’ll hear a lot about “voice.” It’s difficult to define, but essentially it’s your own unique way of telling the story. It took me awhile to figure out that my voice is best suited to YA, and that came after a lot of practice and trying to write in different genres. 

Just get the first draft down

I have to remind myself of this one all the time. I often get stuck trying to make the first draft perfect, but I’ve discovered the hard way that this is a waste of time, because inevitably that scene I spent a million hours perfecting will end up on the cutting room floor during revision. Now I try to focus on the plot and characters during the first draft and worry about making it pretty in subsequent drafts. 

Share your work

It can be hard to share your novel, but connecting with other writers and getting feedback on your work can only help you improve. Swoon Reads is an amazing community of readers and writers and I received so much great feedback on Wesley James Ruined My Life when I posted it on the Swoon Reads site—and that led me to my book deal. 

I hope some of this advice encourages you, no matter what stage of writing you’re at. And I hope, when you’re ready to share your novel, you’ll post it on Swoon Reads!

About the author - Jennifer Honeybourn

Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She's a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, ...

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3 comments on "Swoon Author Jennifer Honeybourn: Words of Wisdom"

Michelle K. Pickett on July 14, 2017, 9:12 a.m. said:

Michelle K. Pickett

First, huge congratulations! That must have been an awesome call to receive. :)

I'm slowly learning to stop editing as I write and just get the first draft out. I have to keep reminding myself that things are going to be cut, changed, and/or rearranged when I spend too much time on a chapter (or even a paragraph), but I'm slowly learning to just move on. I use "bracketing" a lot now, and that has helped. I have a long way to go, but I think, as writers and humans, we'll always have new things to learn about our craft and life. Great post!

Congratulations again. I can't wait to read your book!

Michelle :)

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Samantha Hastings on July 13, 2017, 9:50 p.m. said:

Samantha Hastings

Great advice! I think seeing your book in a bookstore is every aspiring author's dream. Congratulations!

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J.M.Colbert on July 13, 2017, 9:46 p.m. said:


Living the dream! Thanks for this blog, it was really inspiring and helpful.

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