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 AM OLIVIA AND I AM A WRITER!”
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. 🙂
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! 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