TEEN ANGST!!1!!!!!!1!

A quote inspired me to write this post. And not in a good way. In a I’M-GOING-TO-MURDER-THE-PERSON-THAT-SAID-THIS-WELL-NOT-REALLY-BUT-STILL.

Are you ready for it? I hope so. You’re going to need to be. Here it is:

“Young writers should be encouraged to write, and discouraged from thinking they are writers. If they arrive at college with literary ambitions, they should be told that everything they have done since their first childhood poems, printed in the school paper, has been preparation for entering a long, long apprenticeship.”  – Wallace Stegner

By the way, I’m not actually sure if Wallace Stegner said this. I don’t think it matters, though, because people think this anyway.

They think, “Oh, look at that teenager, writing away. Isn’t that adorable.”

“Oh, look at that teenager, trying to talk about writing seriously. Just wait til they grow up.”

*Commence condescending chuckling*

“Discouraged from thinking they are writers.” Definition of “writer”: someone who writes. Which is why I find this quote so utterly ridiculous. In my humble teenage opinion, I believe teenagers should be ENcouraged to think they are writers.

News flash: young writers are getting published with astonishing frequency. Christopher Paolini. Ned Vizzini.Mary Shelley and Anne Frank (well, okay, so they aren’t exactly modern, but they still count!)

There are common thoughts that teenagers can’t write because they haven’t experienced life’s wonders or whatever; they’re too inexperienced; they haven’t sucked enough.

But let me give you an analogy: what is the difference between an adult writing adult fiction for the first time, and a teenager writing YA for the first time?

NONE. In my humble teenage opinion, that it.

So should teenagers be encouraged to consider themselves writers? OF FREAKING COURSE. Wow, I really am in a rage. I’m almost going to go full-out teenager temper tantrum (and you’d better watch out, let me tell you).

I know many talented teen writers. Maybe some adults just can’t see it.

Also, I’m sorry to the adults that think otherwise. I like you. Be my friend 🙂


4 thoughts on “TEEN ANGST!!1!!!!!!1!

  1. Well, I certainly agree with you – young people should be ENcouraged to write, and to think of themselves as writers, at every turn. They should be encouraged to think of themselves as being whatever it is they want to be.

    But there’s just one thing I’d say – maybe you could think about this, and let me know your opinion on it. I’m an adult, and I write (or try to!) YA fiction. I couldn’t have written the stories I write now when I was your age. Not because I wasn’t capable of putting the words together – but because I didn’t have the perspective to write about YA life when I was, myself, a young adult. It’s hard to see something clearly when you’re going through it yourself, I think. I know when I was a teenager, I was too busy trying to survive to try to write stories about other people, too! But that’s just my opinion. You’re a wonderful writer now, and you will be a wonderful writer as you get older. Thanks for your post, though – I thought it was great. 🙂

    • Yeah, I definitely agree with you. It’s hard to have an objective perspective (ha! Random rhyme) when you’re in the middle of something. But I guess we’re all kind of like that, and maybe it’s easier for adults to write YA than adult fiction. I know it’s hard surviving high school (hallelujah, fourth term) but I manage to do pretty well and continue writing in the process.

      It’s also easier when, like me, you read so many YA books, and see so many young adults going about their daily business. That’s something you don’t get when you’re an adult, and I think it’s something I want to capitalise on now – yay for half-stalking. It’s scary to think that I’ll maybe hate my writing from now in a few years’ time – maybe THAT’S the real reason I’m in a blood-boiling rage.

      Isn’t writing fun 🙂

      • Maybe you *will* hate what you’re writing now in a few years – my writing from my teenage years is pure rubbish, and I’m the first to admit it. But (and this is not to be dismissive in any way) – so what? The writing you’re doing now is valuable, because with every word you’re learning new things about your craft. I look back at my teenage scribblings now and I can see the emergence of ideas, themes and interests that I’m still writing about now, as an adult. I just write with a more expansive vocabulary, and a little less melodrama, these days. 🙂

        I do agree with you that young adults writing YA fiction have a unique bird’s eye view of the YA world, but the key to being a good YA writer, even as you grow older, is to find a way to slot yourself back into your teenage life, remembering how you felt and thought as a young person. I use my diaries to help me with that, as well as my memories.

        Anyway, don’t be in a blood-boiling rage about the fear that you MAY hate your current writing in a few years. Most writers go through that experience, and it’s not that bad. Save your energy and your rage for your writing! 🙂 It IS fun.

  2. Definitely, and even in the past few months I’ve learnt more about writing than I have in the fifteen years before that. I think it’s interesting how some writers get the teenage voice so down-pat, and others have no clue. No idea how that happens.

    I’m very happy that I may hate my writing in a few years – it will mean that it will be even better! I look forward to that day.

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