Teen Writer Reflections And A Birthday Celebration
I feel like I should have a speech prepared.
Because exactly one year ago, two teen writers, after reading each other’s blog post, proposed to start a chain of teen bloggers answering prompt questions, an idea that blossomed into a full-out teen writer blog literally an hour later.
TCWT was born.
I’m not going to say anything deep or cliche, but I do want to thank all of you for sticking with us. You guys are the reason TCWT is growing so rapidly. You guys are the reason this random blog idea has is still alive and better than before. You guys are the reason why I’m here, and I am so grateful to have met so many talented teen writers in the past 12 months. You are all amazing, and I can’t wait to read your published books. (I also expect an ARC. Really. I’m not even joking. I want ALL TEH ARCS.) We have followers here who write just for fun, and others who are trying their hand at a first novel, and others who are querying, and even others who have agents.
I’m so thrilled about how far TCWT has come in only one year and about where we’ll go in the future, and because it’s all of you teen writers who make this blog happen, I’ll let you take it away with your teen writer blurbs:
(Note: Announcements and a giveaway are at the end of the post.)
My Goodreads profile goes something like this:
“ I’m in that stage of life when everyone assumes that people my age are angsty. With that in mind, let me list all the angsty things that I do:
-angsty book reviewing
I am so angsty that it’s ridiculous. (I’m joking.)”
There’s a certain way that teens should be- angsty, obsessed with love, rebellious, etc, or at least that’s how teens are always portrayed in the media and I suppose in a way, I wanted to prove people wrong by writing. I’ve actually hated writing for a long time, which is funny because I started blogging because of something related to writing. It’s been four years (audible gasp) and I’m amazed that I’ve lasted that long. I recently only liked writing so I don’t really know how I managed to blog for three years without liking it.
I tend to separate blogging away from writing (weird, I know) but both activities are incredibly therapeutic. Writing allows for an outlet to describe the complexities and incredibility of life that’s just not possible with anything else. It’s a stress reliever.
I used to turn to books when I was annoyed or frustrated but now I find myself writing. It’s a weird feeling because writing was an activity that was on my “will never do” list. Weird. But hey, that’s life right?
I’m working on a MS right now (another thing I never imagined myself to do) and I do short stories on my blog every other Friday about a girl who experiences a lot of things. I don’t know how to describe it. But yeah.
I don’t know where this journey will take me (cliché alert, LOL) but it’s going to be interesting!
I like to write, which goes without saying, but it must be mentioned. I’m not a serious die-hard 50,000 wordcount novel writer, because, really, I don’t have the patience for that. It is quite unlikely you’d see a book by me on a big-fat-book-shelf in a bookstore someday. I might be somewhere else, though. Probably with something entitled Some Really Awesome Short Stories. I really love to write short stories, a number of which are published on my blog. I enjoy writing these, because it’s a story that you can plug a great idea into, but not spend hours upon hours editing. (I’m not really, um, into that part.)
You know, to me, being a teen writer just means that if writing is what you are cut out for, you’ll just have more years to do what you enjoy doing best. Instead of starting your epic novel series or whatever in your late forties, you have lots of time to write it. Who cares if you’re fifteen? As long as the book is read, and enjoyed by the readers, they are so not going to care how old you are. They’re going to care if you make a sequel.
So I guess what I want to say is that if you are a writer, whether you’re a shorter writer like me, or a long story writer like some other TCWT’ers I can mention, enjoy the ride
To me, being a teen writer means a lot of awesome things, but the best thing about it is sites like Teens Can Write Too! where you get to meet a whole load of amazing people. Us teen writers all have a main interest (writing) and to be able to talk about that and then get to know other things about those people is great. I don’t really like others reading my writing (which I know is a pretty crucial thing about being an author but I’m working on it) but I’m fine about showing other teenagers because we’re all kind of similar and trying to find out what works for us. This is my favourite thing about being a teen writer and I hope others will see this and think of what theirs is.
For me, being a teen writer means writing another few thousand words after finishing my one-thousand word history essay. It means not going anywhere–class, car rides, and the bathroom–without a book on hand. It means befriending people I made up. It means befriending people who befriend people that THEY make up.
I had a revelation today. All my life, I’ve been nervous about how serious I am about my writing. It SCARED me. Because I didn’t think anyone would take me as seriously as I took myself. But I realized today that something had changed. I’m proud of my obsessiveness. I’m thrilled about it. Because if I hadn’t taken myself so seriously, whether it’s five, ten, fifteen years into the future, I would still be scared. Writing is hard. Writing is addicting. And the only thing I’m still scared of now is losing it.
Writing is one of the first things people learn about me, whether because I happen to mention a book I’m working on or because somebody else does that for me. They’ll meet me at an archery club or in a ballet class or in orchestra rehearsals and they’ll think, “That’s her hobby.” But by the time they walk out of there they’ll know that I’m a writer, because it’s not something I can hide. It has stamped itself onto every facet of my personality, turned me from the cowardly 13-year-old wannabe I used to be into the cowardly 16-year-old novelist that I am now. Somehow, every conversation always comes back to writing.
Through writing, I’ve made some of my closest friends. Internet friends, mainly, but it’s helped me grow closer to real life friends when I discovered that they wrote, too. It’s three years, one month and just over two weeks since I joined the writing website Protagonize and started to write on a regular basis. This November will mark three years since I completed my first draft of a novel. In those three years, writing has changed my life.
Last October, somewhere in North America, a short, brown-haired girl with glasses is going insane. “How will I write 50,000 words in a month?! I don’t even think I can do 25,000!” Cue panicking and staying up half the night trying to think of a plot. Almost a year later, unfortunately still in North America and not in some awesome place like Australia or the UK, a short, brown-haired girl with glasses has had the idea for her NaNoWriMo novel for over a month. Cue working and staying up half the night to write down as much character information as she possibly can.
About a year ago, I loved writing but wasn’t doing much of it. I had this vague plan to become an author, but I hadn’t practiced by actually writing something not related to an assignment. And then I did NaNoWriMo. As it turned out, I did reach 25,000 words. I’ve participated in Script Frenzy and both Camp NaNoWriMos. I was delighted to discover others like me from the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain. I now have a blog that is actually updated frequently. Sometimes I look back and marvel at how different I was then; at how one month and one very short novel helped me to decide what I was going to do with my life.
I’m not a published author yet, but I’m so much closer now compared to where I was last year.
My writing journey has been a long and tough one, but I believe, it only goes up from here. Writing a book at 13 is hard, but its not the writing part I’m talking about, that was easy. I’m talking about the people who tell me I can’t do it. When I first decided to start my book “Tamarisk”, I was very exited, because I’ve never taken on the challenge of writing a whole book before! As I got farther in, people sometimes underestimated me. I got in touch with lots of people through the internet, and they seemed to think that just because I’m only a 13 year old student that I can’t write a book, or get it published. Usually, I just ignored these messages, but really, It put a lot more stress on me. I knew that if my book wasn’t good, that I would be shut down. I knew people would say: “Well, I knew she couldn’t do it.”. I didn’t want that. I remember getting a message one day, like any other, simply saying the usual, that I couldn’t do it. That day at school, I had my head down on my desk the whole day, not taking in any lessons, or holding any conversations. That day I wanted to give up, to quit everything. I’m so glad I didn’t.
I left school that day with a whole different mind set, I knew I could do it. I got right to writing, I wrote every day. I started considering publishing, and decided to self publish. My friends and family are all very proud of me and honestly, I’m quite proud of myself as well.
I don’t know where I would be now if I gave up that day, probably sitting watching T.V. Since then, I have had no comments about my age, only good ones of corse.
I have finished my book, only needing to do some final touches. It is being published as well.
I can finally say proudly:
To all the adults who brought me down and told me a kid my age could never do something like this, well, I just proved you wrong.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to make up stories, playing with infinite casts of characters in my own private worlds. But I had never before finished a written story outside of school assignments when I signed up for NaNoWriMo in Grade 10.
My schedule that fall was crazy, and just the thought of having to write stressed me out. But something magical happened on November 1st. Suddenly I wasn’t an overburdened student anymore – I was a writer, I was a novelist! I wrote at lunch, in class, when I should have been doing my homework, and late into the night. I wouldn’t let myself go to bed until I had my daily 1667 words written. I don’t remember sleeping so little ever before or since.
It was a grueling month, but on November 29th, 2009, I finished my first novel. While I was incredibly proud of myself, the strongest feeling was of profound relief: the ordeal was over! As it turned out, that feeling lasted about a week before excitement for NaNoWriMo 2010 set in.
Years full of writing – novels and otherwise – passed, and when I had to decide what to do after high school, I was torn between the sensible and the sensational. I wanted (and still want!) to write for a living, but being an engineer (my second choice) pays the bills a lot more reliably – at least until I write that best-seller. Writing is my dream and my passion and I will never give it up.
But for now, I am an engineering student. Every day I work with people who got accepted into my highly competitive program yet struggled to make the 70% cutoff mark in English. And I just don’t get it, and in some ways that means I just don’t fit in. Because while I think numbers are pretty and I love making them dance for me and trig identities are my idea of fun – I will just as happily spend an afternoon wrestling with a tricky plot problem.
Being a teen writer has helped me find a community of people like me. When I come online or go to a NaNo write-in, I am reminded that I am far from alone.
I am a teen, a student, an athlete and a writer. There are not enough hours in a day – but I’d love to meet more teen writers anyways!
(And then of course I had to add my blurb into the mix at midnight a few hours before actually posting this.)
I’m a writer.
I’m a teen.
And I love it.
Writing is not just what I do; it’s who I am. It’s how I come to terms with everything in my life and in others’ lives, it’s how I let me creativity run wild, it’s how I be me. Writing is fun. Writing is stressful. Some days, writing makes me want to jump up and down and parade around the house with my childish grin. Other days, writing makes me want to pull my hair out and just give up for good. I’ve loved writing, I’ve hated writing, and in the end, this journey has been so worth it.
And that’s it. It’s done. TCWT is one year old now. I’m so excited for our future, and I hope you all will continue this journey with me.
To celebrate our birthday, we’re giving away Helen Boswell’s awesome debut, MYTHOLOGY!
When a girl with the power to know everyone’s darkest secrets meets a boy who is inescapably cursed, it’s a match made in heaven that brings one of them to The Land of The Dead.
To enter, all you have to do is comment below! The winner will be chosen and emailed a signed eBook copy tomorrow night. You have 24 hours.
Announcements and Stuff:
- The top ten contest entries are up! Agents will be lurking on the blog soon, so be sure to read the entries if you haven’t already.
- I mentioned a Chatzy chat tonight a few times, I know, but I’ve decided not to do an official one as I don’t really have time. Sorry! I might do a small Chatzy chat sometime this weekend; I’ll tweet/Tumblr/FB it.
- For my friends on Twitter, I have another mini-Twitter contest and a book to giveaway planned for tomorrow.
- And, of course, thanks to everyone who submitted their teen writer blurbs.
- If you want to comment but don’t want to enter the giveaway just say so in your comments, or else I’ll assume you’re entering.
Aaaaaand now it’s time to PARTY! *blasts music* *flails about*
Posted on September 21, 2012, in Random and tagged helen boswell, meet teen writers, mythology, pitch contest, tcwt anniversary, teen writer reflections, teen writers. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.