Writing Q&A: Questions You’re All Thinking…

But maybe don’t want to ask.

However, a brave few of you actually have asked these questions…. And so I’ll answer!


  • Do you write with a pen/pencil, or on the computer?

Oh, my gosh–computer all the way! I seriously have the messiest handwriting ever (well, excepting maybe my dad–sorry, Dad!), and I would never be able to figure out what I wrote later if it was all handwritten. Plus, my hand cramps after writing for too long and I can barely get through two-page essays on my history quizzes, much less full-length novels!

I’m a much faster typist. I think my little sister timed me once and I averaged at like 90 words a minute. (Serious bragging rights) So I can pop things out much more efficiently on a computer.


  • Are you planning on going to college?

Um, I’d really like to side-step this question? Pretty please?

Okay, I guess I can’t. But seriously, someone always asks me this at book signings and it’s so awkward to answer because sometimes they actually argue with me about it. In front of everyone. It’s awful, and the first time it happened it induced tears. Ick.

The answer is no. At least, probably not. I’m going into my senior year of high school and I do not see college in my immediate future. Instead, I see writing and selling books, speaking at conventions and schools, running my photography business, and possibly teaching a writing class. I think I’ll stay busy enough (!), and I don’t want to spend the money for college unless it seems like I’m going to need that graduation certificate to get me through life. I’d be happy (okay, not happy, but willing) to discuss this further in a future blog entry, but it is a very awkward subject for me, especially with people who don’t seem happy at all with that answer. 😦


  • Do you snack while you write?

Well, seeing as I do all of my writing in my room, and our rooms are supposed to be a food-free zone, the answer is no. I once snuck candy into my room when I was little, but got so busted when my mom came in to tuck me goodnight and I was chowing down on a chocolate bar. A good spanking, an hour of wailing, and years of embarrassing story-telling later, I don’t think I’m going to take food into my room ever again. Now that I think about it, I should just stay in my room all the time. It would be a good buffer against ever gaining weight.


  • How do your sisters and friends feel about you being so successful? Are they jealous?

Someone actually asked this at a book signing the other day and I let my younger sister, Hannah, answer. I wish I could have recorded her answer, because she was really sweet. Basically, she said that she wasn’t jealous of me at all, but that she was proud of me, and really enjoyed getting to go with me to book signings and events and hang out and meet people.

Then I answered, too, and talked about how extremely gifted both my sisters are, in ways that I could never be. Hannah is an amazing seamstress and is great with kids. Ruthie is such an artist, and has a magnetic personality. We all have a great, tight-knit relationship, and I really hope that there is never any jealousy or bad vibes between us. Yes, I may do more interviews and speaking events than them, but at the end of the day we’re all equal in each others’ sights.

The same goes for my friends. I don’t think any of them are jealous of me, because they’re all very sweet and supportive. They ask me what I’ve been up to and how my writing is going. But, the truth is, it’s not something I talk about a lot. I’m a teenage girl. I discuss clothes and shopping and baking and movies and my faith and just about anything else teenage girls talk about. My private life is a lot different from my public, author-life, and I hope to always keep it that way. No one meets me or talks to me under the premise of “This girl is so intimidating–she’s a published author.” It’s usually just “This girl is funny and nice and cool”. At least, I hope that’s what they think! 🙂


If you have any more questions, remember… All you have to do is ask! 🙂



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  1. * Jill says:

    Wow–90 words a minute? That’s awesome! I can hardly type 70 words. 😉

    I really enjoyed reading these answers. It’s great that your family and friends support you so nicely!

    Here’s my writing question: Are you a plotter or pantser? When you wrote Interrupted, did you have everything planned out or did you think up scenes as you went?

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  2. * Emily says:

    Wow! I like your answer to college! Being fourteen-and-a-half and tired of school, I guess that makes sense. 😉 But I don’t think I ever fully thought about it. Everybody goes to college. I guess that’s what pushed me toward wanting to go more than anything. But I’ve always wanted to be an author. And if that’s the case, would college help in that area? Because if not, I’m not so sure if college would be necessary for me. I’ll have to think on it. But if college does help (i. e. with publishing, the writing process, etc.), perhaps I’ll do it. What’s your opinion? 🙂

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
    • * Julia Byers says:

      I know this is directed towards Rachel, not some random commenter, but I just graduated from high school and am off to college next month, so I figured I’d throw my two cents in.

      This past year when application season rolled around, I definitely debated the merits of going to college, because both of my chosen fields (writing and acting) don’t require it and I’ve already found avenues for success within them that I could go into straight out of high school. However, I’m also interested in things outside of writing and acting; I would love to learn more about psychology and mythology, languages and other cultures. And in order to study all of that, college is the answer. Plus, those subjects will help me improve my writing by exposing me to more things to write about.

      In the end, you can make a valid argument for both sides in the college debate. In order to write good fiction, you have to live a good life. But you don’t have to be out of school in order to do that. While in college, I’m planning on not only double majoring in creative writing and drama, but also to be studying all the other different things that interest me outside of those subject areas, along with studying abroad and volunteering and doing plays and making new friends, and all sorts of different things.

      College isn’t about studying your brains out every second you get. It’s about learning how to be independent and successful without your parents watching over you every second of the day. It’s about learning to be an adult, off on your own, in an environment where you still have people who will rush to your aid in case you mess up, but won’t unless you want them to.

      I’m not saying that Rachel’s decision not to go to college is bad, because it isn’t. It’s her decision, and if not going to college will be a greater benefit to her than going to college, so be it. I’m happy for her. Just make sure to look at college with an open mind when it gets time for you to make your decision–make sure you make your decision based on your wants and needs, not those of others.

      Good luck! 🙂

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
      • * RachelC says:

        Thanks for commenting and “adding your two-cents’ worth”, Julia. 🙂 I was happy to hear your thoughts on college and I’m very happy for your decision! Like I said in my post, I personally don’t plan on going to college, but that doesn’t mean I’m anti-college or anti-the college experience. I do relate to your comment about being independent. Fortunately for me, I have a job and lifestyle that allow me to be very independent and make many of my own decisions. I have deadlines to meet, events to attend, publishing professionals to correspond with, and important decisions to make. I just can’t imagine throwing college on top of all of that! At least for me, that is. 🙂
        Thanks again for offering your opinion. 🙂

        Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
      • * Julia Byers says:

        I know, and I’m very happy for you, as well, as I mentioned. 🙂 You definitely sound busy enough without college on top of everything! I just wanted to make sure that people were aware that going to college is just as good of an option as choosing to focus on writing straight out of high school; it just depends on their personal aspirations for how to spend those first years on their own.

        Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
      • * Emily says:

        Oh, thank you, both of you! 🙂 It definitely gives me something to think about. (And Julia, though this was more directed toward Rachel, I appreciate hearing your “two-cents worth” as well! It does help me too!) 🙂 Thanks again!

        Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  3. * Margaret says:

    I totally support you on that answer about college. I don’t have to worry about college for a little while, but if I’m published before I graduate, I’m not really sure I see the point in going. We’ll see. 🙂 Anyway, don’t worry what anyone thinks of your decision about college – it’s your life, and as long as you’re following what God wants for you, that’s what matters, right?

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  4. * Cassondra says:

    Go Rachel!!!!
    The college answer you gave was pretty awesome and point-blank. I have to agree with you 100%. Now that I have graduated from high-school, all I get is the question, “Are you going to college?” It gets rather dull. My reply is just like yours!!! I have a photography business, I love to write and I’m in the middle of writing my book. Sometimes the responce is encouraging and uplifting to me, and other times they argue my decision, which really stinks.
    I love your posts!!!!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  5. * Gracie says:

    Great answers Rachel 🙂
    I’m not sure if you get it to, but because I’m homeschooled people often think that I don’t even have the option of going to college. They seem surprised when I tell them that no, I do not do school in my pajama’s and yes, I can actually go on to do more than work at the local supermarket. 😀
    I’ve got another question: Is it ok to submit the same manuscript to an agent twice? If they turn it down the first time, and then you change it, fix it up, is it ok to submit it again?

    God Bless!! 🙂

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  6. You’re a home schooled girl after my own heart. College Schmollege I always say. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago

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