Since I’ve revealed my writing hobby, and even more since I hopped on the blogging wagon, one thing has popped out at me. There are copious amounts of teen writers these days. About 95% of the blogs I’ve subscribed to since starting the blog a month(or thereabouts) ago are those of teen writers. Come to think of it, most of the stuff that comes up in the writing section in the WordPress Reader is posted by teens. A goodly percentage of the teens I come into contact with at the homeschool association at least dabble with words. It’s astounding just how many adolescents seem to favor it over all the stereotypical past times.
Yet, for some reason, whenever you’re forced into telling a supposed adult you write, you get the same “How sweet! Maybe you’ll be James Patterson someday.” response. And, after looking at the experiences of a lot of the young authors on the blogs I found, it isn’t just something that happens to me. After Paolini and all the rest, we still get this? *sigh* Such is life, apparently.
It seems rather hypocritical, what with us being in the age of open-mindedness, tolerance, and belief in the impossible, but it appears to be rather ingrained in the mature mind that anyone under the age of “old” can’t write worth a ballpoint pen. It’s noble of us to try, and might even be the foundation of a great career, but the possibility of any of us turning out something worth actually publishing is absolutely unthinkable. A tad maddening, isn’t it?
Not that they’re always wrong. I’ve read some amazing work from teen authors. And I’ve read some that should be ripped into itsy-bitsy pieces, run through a shredder, burnt to cinders, then scattered on different continents to shield humanity from the horror of it. Worse still, some of it was mine.
The thing is, that writing has evolved a bit. As I’ve gotten older (and read a lot more writing articles), I’ve had a chance to polish up my style, though it can still be pretty rough. I’ve gotten better with each progressive year of writing, and with each page I write, I gain more experience. It’s a learning process like any other, and if anything, I think teen writers have a bit of an advantage over their elder counterparts. With admittedly more malleable minds (that really wasn’t on purpose) and a head-start on late in life writers, we should be sitting pretty.
And now, a role-reversal…
We aren’t, and that’s partly our fault. Even if people tend to have difficulty taking us seriously, that shouldn’t give us license to either turn all of our work into an angst-fest about our unappreciated martyrdom or sit on our hands and never do anything with the non-angst work we do complete. Young writers (*cough* myself included *cough*) tend to be so intimidated by the monstrous, savage world of publishing and editors and agents that we choose to wait until adulthood to do anything whatsoever with the novels and stories we’ve slaved over. There plenty of bold ones, who manage to sneak a few articles and short stories past the enemy lines, but novels are almost unheard of. And, considering the number of novels written, that should not be.
If you have something brilliant, you shouldn’t settle for anything less. Honestly, now (when we don’t actually have to write for food and housing and other such mundane things) seems like the best time to take chances with our writing. You’ve got nothing to lose, outside of a little pride if (when) you’re rejected. And who knows? If you’re good, you just might hit the jackpot.