I’m Olivia, and I’m a Writer!

You all may know that I have recently fallen in love with writing. So much, in fact, that a large portion of my heart yearns to be a published author when I grow up. So much that I want to stand at the top of the Empire State building with a megaphone and shout:


I’m pretty sure that would be against the law. But you know what I mean. I love writing so much! So why can’t I proudly say that I want to be a writer?

I come from the South, where when you see someone you know (no matter where; grocery store, the pool, the DMV) you automatically enter into a conversation with them, likely one that lasts at least half an hour. It’s one of the reasons I love living here. We are built on friendliness, neighborliness. But it also makes for some awkward situations. The prime example is a question that comes up in almost EVERY conversation I have with an adult.

“So, what do you want to do when you grow up?”

First of all, how do you know I’m not living my dream right now! As an example I give 16 year old Amy Zhang, a very talented writer friend of mine from Twitter. She has an agent and is currently on submission to The Big 6 publishing houses! Who says I have to wait until I grow up to do what I love?

And then comes the shuffling of feet, shifty glances, and awkward silence.

“Errm…. well… I’m considering something in the healthcare industry. I’ve been volunteering at the hospital….”

And that isn’t a lie. But why can’t I tell people that I really want to be a writer? Maybe it is because saying “I want to be a writer” is like saying:

“Well, I want to grow up and get a Creative Writing degree I’ll never use, and live in my parent’s house until I’m 40, loafing off of their food and free Internet and never get a real job.”

At least where I live.

It hurts pretty bad when the general public’s automatic response to your dreams and hopes is:

“Such a waste of a bright mind. Shame…”

How many potentially brilliant writers never do what they love because people are so darn determined to squish their dreams with their steel toed dream crushing shoes?

The only advice I can give to other teen writers is to let it fuel you. With every single person who scoffs at your dreams, or believes writing isn’t a good career, or hates on you in general, let that give you the crazy nerve to say

“HA. It’s funny that you don’t believe in me. I’ll just prove you wrong.”

Some GREAT websites for aspiring teen authors!

Teens Can Write Too!– the title says it all.

Figment.com– a fabulous place to get critiques anonymously, if you so choose.

Write On!– forums for teen writers and readers

A Story of A Dreamer– this is Amy’s blog, if you need a little teen writing inspiration. πŸ™‚

The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer– I met John on Twitter. That ‘Bored Writer’ is actually quite the talented writer, and always makes me laugh as well. He’s also a teen writer.

Mark O’Brien Writes– A teen writer querying his MS to agents at the moment. Very talented and creative, seems to be Amy’s fraternal twin. They share a brain.

The Fuzzy Mango– Not only does Ari have great giveaways and a dinosaur friend named Fred, she also has some fantastic writing series’ such as How to Write a Snarky Character and The Anatomy of a Wham Moment!

You might also consider getting a good CP, or Critique Partner. Having Critique Partners has changed the way I write for the better. There are no limitations, I have a CP who lives minutes from me, seconds from me, 300 miles from me, and 3,000 miles from me! Plus many more fabulous teen writer friends (see below) that I am sure would read my MS if I asked. The magic of the Internet! They’re truly an invaluable resource.

Also, a new hashtag has been devised! TCWT and Write On! are teaming up to bring you the #TeenWriters chat every other Tuesday (next one is August 14th) from 8:00 to 8:30!Β  Anyone aged 13-20 can participate in the fun! Here’s there Twitter account. Follow them!

Rock on, guys!


EDIT: I encourage everyone to remember this quote. One of my favorites, that really gets me back up when I don’t believe in myself.

“The only requirement of having a dream is believing in it.” ~Molly Barker



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34 responses to “I’m Olivia, and I’m a Writer!

  1. John Hansen


    That’s all I have to say.

  2. I was in your exact position a few years ago! I still am (minus being a teen). It’s tough to be judged as a writer. “Oh, so is it like Twilight?” “You and JK Rowling should write a book.” “Young Adult? So like, porn for kids?” I know how it feels like when most people see such a bright mind wasted.

    Thank you for standing up. Getting it off your chest is a great feeling, huh? Great websites…even for a non-teen like me. ;D Go get you dream, Olivia. It’s an honor to be a friend along your journey. I can’t for you to get your author title.

    • :’) *MORE SOBBING ENSUES AS OLIVIA CAN’T TAKE ALL THE NICENESS* I am so grateful for you, Linda! You and John and Amy and Mark and Ari… I never expected to love my new Twitter friends so much!

  3. Candace Knoebel

    Very well said and encouraging. Don’t ever let anyone keep you from your dreams!

  4. *cries*
    This was poetry. Straight poetry.

  5. Olivia, you can be anything you want to be when you grow up! It’s important to choose a career doing something that makes you happy, because you will be doing it every day of your life. And life shouldn’t revolve around money. Even if you are a struggling writer for a short time, it will be worth it because you are HAPPY. (And I truely don’t think you’ll be struggling because you are already an amazing writer!)

  6. Yay, Olivia! Just know you are leaps and bounds on most adults. Use your years to do all the great BIG HUGE things you dream. I am probably double your age and have just found my true passion. It was dance, then being a mommy. Now that my kiddos are older, I can do a little something just for me. Don’t let others discourage you, there is some bitterness in adults (sometimes) seeing someone young and doing what they love. I am so excited for you! I wanna be a crit partner!!! Please! Ha! Again, Yay Olivia!

  7. A lot of older adults have trouble talking to teenagers in an encouraging, respectful way. Here’s why: They expect teenagers to act more mature than their age, while speaking to them like they’re younger than their age.

    OF COURSE you have dreams of being a writer. We all have those dreams, and I think they do get crushed by (mostly) well-meaning, reality-checking people older than us, with vaster life experience. The problem, I think, is that a lot of folks think that you can only pursue one dream, one career, one life path, to the exclusion of all others.

    But, who cares what anyone says. You are responsible, you are smart, you are passionate, you are hardworking. Surely you can make those things all work together into a writing life that lets you produce work you’re proud of while making enough money to feed yourself and pay for your computer/Scrivener and a way to get to the library, at the very least.

    And, last – anyone who doesn’t respect teen writers probably doesn’t respect teen lit, either. So screw ’em.

    • I’m ready to be crushed by the professionals. More than ready. Just not by the people who don’t know if I’m talented, or capable, or dedicated or not (i.e. people who haven’t read it, the random parent in the supermarket)! πŸ˜€ I think I’m ready to talk about it now. This took a load off my chest. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Zen

    I understand what you mean about feeling hesitant about telling people that you would like to become a writer. I got that a lot, and sometimes it got to me, but then I looked at those people who used to say these things to me and realised that none of them ever accomplished their own dreams, so really… it’s not their place to talk.

  9. Great post. There aren’t a whole lot of writers in my area, either. I’ve gone to a writer’s conference in our area for two years now. I was the youngest one there, but actually had some of the most experience. Even the adult writers there were mostly writing memoirs, short stories, etc. When they heard I’d been writing novels for quite a while, they were astounded.

    Which just goes to show how GOOD it is to find people in your area, or online, who admire what you’ve done so far, and what you’ll do in the future. πŸ™‚

    Also, I have a young writer’s site to add to your list!
    I haven’t been very active there recently, but it was a great community, and it helped me grow in my writing a lot. ^^

  10. I totally agree! Writing professionally is something that’s not exactly considered a “real” profession in the my area too! *sigh* But yes, let the criticism be the fuel to push oneself higher! πŸ˜€

  11. YAAAYYY!!! I know I said this before on Twitter, but this post makes me really happy. And I’m so flattered/pleased to be included here! *squishes* πŸ˜€

    Something else to consider/point out to the naysayers: if you’re under 20, you’ve lived less than 1/5 of your potential lifespan as a human. You have SO MUCH TIME, and you can use that time to pursue any number of things! You’re not obligated to stick with any one path, so who says you can’t pursue healthcare and writing and anything else you may happen to love? (Also, it is a truth un-universally acknowledged that what you choose to major in does not dictate what you’ll do with your life.)

    Basically, my point boils down to Joseph Campbell’s phrase “Follow your bliss.” As long as you’re doing something you love, I figure you’re on the right track. πŸ™‚

    And watch this. Long, but SO worth it: http://vimeo.com/42372767

    P.S. Fred sends his greetings. πŸ˜€

    • FRED!!! HELLO FRED! Glad it makes you happy! You deserve it! πŸ˜€ Those posts helped me a lot! *squishes back*
      I’m SO excited that I have my whole life ahead of me. Right now, writing and reading give me bliss. So I will do those things, and live in my own writerly world, and hopefully meet you lovely writerly friends, and just LIVE. And maybe be the world’s greatest WRITING BRAIN SURGEON. I feel so relieved! I AM A WRITER AND I’M NOT ASHAMED.

  12. Thanks for sharing the links. These are great!

  13. If you haven’t already you MUST read Writing down the bones, Natalie Goldberg, and Bird by Bird Anne Lamott. Both are funny, inspiring and tell you exactly why you should say, “I AM a writer” not I want to be. If you write, you are. Much love~Kate

  14. Olivia, I’m so proud of you! I had no idea you were a writer in addition to a reader πŸ™‚

    All I have to say is GO FOR IT. When I was 14, I wrote a novel. After a silly, petty fight, my sister deleted it from my hard drive (this is when I learned the importance of backing up your work!) After that, I stopped writing fiction, for all the reasons you say you’re hesistant to do so. It took me a handful of college degrees (in very non-fiction-writing fields) and moving to a remote village of 300 people to admit to myself that I wanted to write again, and a few years after moving back to civiliazation to admit it to other people.

    I think it’s great that you are connecting with other young writers and have a sense of community. It will serve you well.

    Do you know about the Scholastic Arts and Writing awards? Might be something you’re interested in. Check it out here: http://www.artandwriting.org/

    Happy reading and writing!

    • Thank you so much! Wow, that’s terrible! (and totally reminds me of little women when Amy burns Jo’s MS! Oh, the horror! I lost 1,000 words a few weeks ago and it was pure PAIN.) It’s cool and at the same time awful to hear of so many with the same problem. I’ll check out that website! Thanks again, Molly!
      πŸ˜€ Olivia

  15. Pingback: Silent Snow | Olivia's Opinions

  16. Paulina Czarnecki

    Nice! It sounds like we have a lot in common! πŸ™‚

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