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Confessions Of An Ex-Perfectionist

The letter below is part of an ongoing series featuring letters from authors to their teen selves. If you're a published author who'd like to participate in this series, we'd love to have you. Just click here and let us know you're interested. Today's guest is Tracy Wolff, author of the steamy new YA vampire novel Crave.


Dear Teen Tracy,

Wow. It’s kind of a trip remembering our high school years, so give me a second to adjust, please? Then again, you probably need a second, too, because this whole letter from your future self is kind of crazy, right? Still, I’ve got lots to say to you—some of it good, some of it not so great. So buckle in and leave your skepticism at the door, because here we go …

I guess the first, and maybe most important thing I want to say to you is don’t be in such a hurry. Don’t be in such a hurry to graduate from high school, don’t be in such a hurry to go to college, don’t be in such a hurry to graduate from college. Slow down a little, breathe in some fresh air, take your eye off your goal for just a second. It’s not going anywhere … I promise, you’ll be a published author one day, just like you’ve always wanted.

But you don’t have to be so goal-oriented every second of every day. You can chill out a little, enjoy where you are instead of always striving for where you want to be next. Because where you are is pretty great. Then again, where you end up is pretty great, too, so I understand your hurry.

Tracy as a teen

It won’t be all achieving goals and the good life, though. You’ve got a lot coming at you right around the time you turn 21, so be prepared for that. Yes, you graduate from college by the time you’re 20 and head off to New Orleans for graduate school. Yes, you meet a boy and marry him and have a baby boy of your own all in the next two years. But you also lose your father in a brutal and unexpected blow that shatters your and your mother’s lives.

Remember how I said not to be in such a hurry? Not to spend all your time chasing down your goals and stop and smell the roses sometimes? Call your dad more. Go home to visit more. Tell him you love him more, because you’ll lose him long before you’re ready to.

Other advice? Don’t worry so much about being perfect. No one’s perfect and you definitely aren’t, so stop sweating it so much. Being imperfect is way more interesting … and a lot more fun, too. And stop beating yourself up for every mistake you make. Those mistakes end up teaching you a lot, and help you become the person you are today.

And, one last thing? You don’t have to do everything on your own. You’ve made some incredible friends through the years (a couple of them you’ve even got right now and there are more to come in college and beyond), so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you feel like you’re drowning. They’ve got you.

So, in closing, I guess I just want to say, good luck with everything. You’ve got a pretty great future ahead of you. Yeah, it’s got a lot of bumps and twists and turns, but in the end, everything turns out better than you could possibly have imagined. So hang on and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be a wild one.


Future Tracy


About The Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—in second grade, around the same time she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. A one-time English professor with over fifty novels to her name, she now lives in Austin, Texas, with her family. Her newest book, titled Crave, is a steamy vampire YA.


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