Whole Lotta Love (Letters) | Sara Biren

Hi! I’m Sara Biren, author of three YA contemporary romances from Amulet Books (learn about my books here) and one of the newest bloggers here at YA Outside the Lines. A lifelong Minnesotan, I recently moved with my husband and two teenagers to the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.

I’ve been writing for as long as I could string words together into sentences. My first stories were copy-cats of some of my favorite books, B is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood and my beloved Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as they say, and that’s how I started to learn the craft of writing. I’ve been learning ever since.

We’re eleven days into February, a month filled with love, which happens to be the blog’s February theme. I’m a big fan of love (I write romance, after all) and I believe that the world could always use more of it. Love songs, rom coms, HEAs, Valentines, cinnamon jelly hearts. Love, love, love.

I’ve been watching the Winter Olympics–stay with me here to see how this relates to the topic of love–and as much as I enjoy the competitions, I’m a sucker for the stories about the athletes–their sacrifices, their challenges, their wins, their losses. I usually end up in tears. 

Sometimes the losses cut much more deeply than a fall or failing to medal. One of the stories that has really hit hard for me this year is the story of US alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who recently lost her father in a tragic accident. My heart aches for her as she returns to the Olympics without her dad. If you watch the piece, it’s clear how much love Mikaela and her dad shared, and the world is a better place for it. 

Let’s put more love out into the world. As this is my first blog post for YAOTL, I’m not sure if I’m doing this right, but I’m going to put out a challenge. Sometime in the month of February, write a love letter to a person who has made a difference in your life. It could be a letter to a parent, thanking them for their love and support. A teacher who encouraged you to follow your dreams. A childhood friend who believed in you and tagged along on all your wildest adventures. The love of your life who puts up with having the Olympics on in the background all day and all night. Someone who has inspired you. Someone you’ve lost, as a way to tell them the things you wish you had when they were still with you. 

Or maybe you want to turn this assignment toward your current writing project and pen a letter from one character to another. A letter to a character who’s been giving you, the writer, some trouble.

A letter to yourself, as a love-filled reminder of why you create, why you do what you do. 

Maybe you’ll send the letter. Maybe you won’t. Either way, you’re writing a love letter and putting more love out into the world. Your words matter. The love you share with others matters. 

Don't wait. Write it today.


  1. Great challenge/suggestion. All too often we find ourselves in moments of meditation regretting not having let another know how they made our lives better.

  2. Welcome to the blog, Sara! We're a ski-racing family, and Mikaela Shiffrin has long been on our radar!

  3. Oh, wow, I love this idea of writing a letter.


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