Jessica Day George, an award-winning, best-selling author, visited BYU-Idaho at the Thomas E. Ricks building on Wednesday, June 21. She told the story of how she became an author. She also gave general life advice. After that, she signed books for people.
The line for signing wrapped around half of the room. Worried about how much time it would take to get through the line, they asked everyone to turn to the title page before they got to the front to make it go faster.
During the presentation, George shared how it all began and when she started wanting to be an author.
“At the end of fifth grade is when I discovered that books could be fun,” George said.
She read a lot because of the BOOK IT! program so that she could get free pizza. Then, due to her teacher’s regulation of things that she could read for a report and her mother limiting the BOOK IT! program, she branched out from her normal book choices of The Black Stallion and Beverly Curry books and read The Hero and the Crown.
That book sparked her love of books and writing. It was then that she decided to become an author.
For the first part of her writing career,she tried to write things that were popular. After she had had about 200 rejections, she decided to give up on being an author. She wrote a book about dragons for fun, which was picked up by a publisher — and she hasn’t been rejected since.
She talked about how writers should write what they’re passionate about because it shows. The reader can tell when storytellers enjoy their own stories.
“The whole time I was thinking about my own story,” said Tiffany Haack, an Idaho Falls local.
At the end of the presentation, George took some questions where she told the audience about the dangers of stress, which has damaged her physical health.
“When times get hard I smile big and I push through,” George said.
She just smiled and said yes — even when it was too much — until she collapsed.
“What do you do when times get tough?” George asked. “Stop. You stop and look around and say, ‘OK, in what aspect is this tough? Am I physically ill, am I mentally not feeling well? Is something wrong with my career? is something wrong with my personal relationships?'”
She advised the audience not to take too much on; to harness the healing power of “no”; to stop and decide what’s important.