When I tell people that I’m an author, they think it’s crazy that I’ve been published at such a young age. I’ve never understood why it’s such a rare thing for teenagers to pursue publication. I mean, what makes writing different than other forms of the arts—such as dancing, acting, modeling, or singing?
Many adults try to discourage teenagers from pursuing publication. However—by pursuing writing as a teenager, I was able to get a head start in my career. While publication may not be your goal for right now, your teenage years are prime time for developing and honing your craft. It’s completely fine to use these years to “prepare” for your publication journey rather than let it begin.
Besides, there are several perks to writing at a young age:
1. Your teenage voice will come across as authentic. I recently ran into several “books” I wrote in middle school, all of which consisted of a pre-teen protagonist. When I decide to write middle grade books one day, I’ll be able to study and “copy” the voice I had when I wrote those stories. There are some YA books sound more like an adult trying to be a teenager rather than an actual teenager. By writing YA books from a teen perspective, your voice will come across as genuine. There will no need for you to “fake” being a teenager since—well, you are one.
2. You have first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a teenager in this generation. Although adults were at one time teenagers themselves, let's face it—the times have changed. Since you’ll be able to relate to your protagonist, your story will most likely come across as believable and authentic.
3. You have an early start in your writing career. Many of those who dream of becoming an author "when they grow up" don't find their name in print sometime until late in their adult years. And for several, their dream of being an author remains a dream. They never try to make it happen because they think it’s too late and not likely. Why wait when you can begin now? If you begin researching and developing your craft now, you’ll be doing your future self a favor.
4. As teenagers, we have the ability and influence to reach out to the youth. 19-year-olds Alex and Brett Harris discuss in their book, "Do Hard Things", how important it is that we don't sit around and watch our youth pass by when we have the power to change it now. Who best to reach out and understand teenagers than another teenager?
5. You’re able to write without feeling pressure. You’ll have time to develop your craft, knowing that it isn’t a race. Plus, once you do get published, writing will become your job—you might not always have the motivation to write like you do now.
And, of course, there are the fun aspects of being a teen writer, such as:
Purple Moon (which releases Sept. 24).
2. If you’re an introvert like I am, you have an excuse to stay home. You need some kind of social life, but it’s always nice to spend some time with yourself if you’re an introvert. Plus, it makes a great excuse to not go places where you know you won’t feel comfortable. “Sorry, I can’t. I have to work on my book this evening.”
3. You can have fun with it. Of course, every writer can have fun with writing. But like I said—once you become an author, your writing will start feeling more like a job rather than a hobby. Be creative when you write (and not just with the book you’re working on): sit in your favorite chair, sip on your favorite latte or tea, burn a few candles, turn on some music, etc. Don’t take for granted the time you have now as unpublished author. =)
What are some of your favorite parts about being a teenage writer?