Ally on: Being a Teen Writer

20 Sep

I feel like it’s time for a little heart to heart here guys. I just need to get this situation off my chest, because everyone else seems to have an opinion about it and so here’s my two cents on teen writers, and being one.

First off, we get a bad wrap. At least I thinks so. We can’t write anything ‘good‘, were shut ins, we drink large amounts of tea, and on top of all of this people seem to think that were just writing for fun. FUN? Whomsoever thinks writing is fun has obviously never done it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people and when I tell them I’m a writer they’ll say over exuberantly  “Oh that’s cute!” or dreadfully, “you aren’t going to college for that are you?”. With either response you might as well of just spit in my tea and walked away.

I’m not taken seriously, and i know it. Heck, everyone knows it!

If you’re between the ages of say… 13 and 20 and drop the ‘W’ bomb you’re whole ship is sunk. You automatically become the out in space, unrealistic dreamer who obviously doesn’t have his/her head on straight and clearly, ever so clearly needs to be steered in the right direction. I can’t tell you how often my Grandmother has throw out the topic of engineer, or chemist, or (if you absolutely must) biologist when I bring up writing. And it isn’t that those aren’t good jobs, or that I couldn’t do them (or don’t want to) it’s the fact that you don’t even give writing a second thought.

No one has EVER said to me (other than fellow writers) “Why Ally, you should keep writing! You could have a future there.”

And I’m not asking for handouts, or compliments, honestly. If you want to tell me I suck at writing and am a failure and that I’ll never amount to anything in the field… fine. But don’t just skim over it like it isn’t even worth a comment, like since its worthless to you it’s worthless to me, because it’s not.

And i think that’s where the big misconception is. People think this is just something I do. They think that it’s worthless.That it’s all the papers you throw away at the end of the school year (sure you used them once, they meant something once. But no one else will want them, and eventually you’ll realize you don’t need them, and you’ll just toss it out with the trash)

But it ISN”T LIKE THAT.

Writing is something that you have to commit to. ESPECIALLY as a teen! School, sports, friends, family, clubs, a part-time job, applying for college (if your a Jr./Senior), and church (if your into that) is all on a teen’s plate. Add writing to that and, well, you could just about drop dead at the end of the day. At least I could. I suppose this isn’t just teens, but every writer with a life. (haha, what life?). What I’m saying is it’s easy as a teenager to steal every spare moment of  the day to just catch your breath, but teen writers don’t and that’s what people don’t get.

Most of the time writing isn’t fun, and we have to MAKE time to do it. We have to force ourselves to do a lot of days. And anybody who writes will tell you that isn’t easy. You have to take yourself very seriously to do it.

I take myself seriously, and I just wish other people would to. I’m not asking you to tell me I’m amazing. I’m just asking you to give me chance.

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8 Responses to “Ally on: Being a Teen Writer”

  1. Anonymous September 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Keep Writing!

    • nkeda14 September 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

      Why thank you. I will 🙂

  2. W. R. Woolf September 21, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    This doesn’t just hold for teens. In general if you’re an unpublished writer, or even a writer who has only had short stories published, people won’t think it’s serious.
    I never tell anyone that I write on a “first date” 😉

    • nkeda14 September 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

      Haha no, like I said, the W bomb at any time, and especially on a first date usually spells failure! Good luck though 🙂

  3. Kylie September 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    Oh my goodness, yes. The other day at school my counselor called me in for the Senior “Let’s talk about your future” discussion. She asked what I want to do, and I said “Write, of course!” And then she said, “Okay, so that’s the dream. Now let’s come back down to reality.”

    Umm, what?

    She then proceeded to talk about “sensible” dreams. But what’s the point of a dream if it’s sensible? Isn’t that an oxymoron? She didn’t even consider that I might be good, or have a real future in it. We DO get a bad wrap. People think we don’t know about the economic realities of being a writer, but we do. Most of us are not delusional about that. What they don’t seem to understand is that we’re not doing this for the MONEY, we’re doing it because we ABSOLUTELY MUST.

    And-(sorry for this monstrous novel of a comment, I have strong feelings about this)-people don’t consider that teens might be really good at writing because of one simple fact-we FEEL things so strongly, and we see what adults have grown blind to.

    We WILL write, we WILL be published, and we WILL prove them wrong. *puts soapbox away*

    Gah. Sorry for the long comment. 🙂

    • nkeda14 September 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

      She really said that to you? My GOD! Do counselors just want to crush our souls or what? and you’re right dreams shouldn’t be sensible… and who says ‘writing isn’t sensible’ anyway? I bet she wouldn’t say that to Jane Austen!

      Keep writing!

  4. quix689 September 22, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Most of what you’ve described applies to adult writers, as well, but I definitely agree that it’s worse for teens. There’s this mentality in this country that unless you’re going into something science or math related, there’s something wrong with you and you’re going to end up living in a box on the side of the road. It’s ridiculous. We need math/science people AND creative people.

    It’s actually funny that you posted this just two days after I was talking to my boyfriend about how your blog makes me feel like a failure. You’re not quite seventeen yet, and already you have a blog and are talking seriously about writing, and I think that’s great. When I was sixteen, I was writing Harry Potter fan fiction for fun and was trying to find a more “serious” career goal than writer. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was six years old, yet I’ve never once seriously considered that as my goal. I’ve always been focused on doing something different, yet related (I got a BA in English so I could be an editor, and when that didn’t lead to a job, I decided to go back and get my Master’s in teaching high school English).

    Now I’m wondering what I might have accomplished if I had been encouraged to take writing seriously, not just as a hobby. I would have written more. I would have found my voice sooner. All the mistakes I’m making and learning from now, I could have learned from five years ago. But instead, I turned writing into a hobby, something I do on the side and hope to eventually turn into something bigger. I’m not entirely unhappy with that, as I’m finding I’m looking forward to the idea of teaching high school English, but part of me still wonders what would have happened if I had been more confident in my abilities earlier on. It’s turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy: if I don’t think I can make a living writing, then I won’t practice and put myself out there, and then I really won’t make a living writing.

    I’m sorry for the long reply. I just really liked your post, and I wanted to make sure you knew that not everyone agrees with what you’ve been told. I’m only 23, so it’s not like I’m that much older than you, but still – I think it’s great that you’re so serious about writing. You and others like you help inspire me to keep writing. 🙂

    • nkeda14 September 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

      Thank you, I can’t tell you how much your comment makes my day! I can’t believe that you feel like a failure because of my blog, don’t say that! The fact that you still kept writing at all (with out support) is totally amazing! I’m lucky enough to have a crit. partner that lives close by and all the support from the blogosphere 🙂

      But it’s true what your saying, it’s hard anywhere for anyone to write without people stamping “future homeless person” on your head. All I can say is keep writing and prove them wrong!

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