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Advice for the Teen Writer
by Kristin Tilley

Let's face it: any writing career is tough. There're so many processes involved…brainstorming, editing, rewriting, promoting. It almost discourages you to simply think of these tasks alone. But to add to the stress, the average writer probably has kids to take care of, bills upon bills to pay, plus a house to tend. It's rough.

But what about the younger writers? Those teen writers who've just shoved off the beach of ease and into the oceans of hardships and decisions? What sort of problems do they face?

Actually, they come in contact with identical problems. The only difference is that they're unaccustomed to the problems they have to endure.

Many have told me that it's best to launch a writing career early on. In this manner, we learn more, sooner. I myself started writing at ten. Following this scrap of advice, I've developed what some might call "writing radar." I hear a simple keyword or two-like "authors" or "writing tips"-and the person who spoke has my full attention. I've learned to absorb all of the information about writing that I possibly can. Knowledge is one of the most important things that a writer can have, no matter their age or level of writing experience.

An aspiring author in the amateur state has problems, too. Of course, they would. There's no "easy period" in the ongoing hike that is our career. The hill's just as steep - if not steeper - the whole way through. But a lot of new writers worry a little too much. Where are they ever going to find the time to write? What will their relatives say about their work? What if no one appreciates what they're trying to do?! Stop worrying! Most creative people feel this way at some point.

The next hurdle to overcome is the ever-resentful element called time. No one seems to have enough of it today. "I have to go to my daughter's soccer practice", or "I've got homework." Even, "I'm just too tired. I've had a long day." Too bad. If you really want that writing career - and if you're reading this, you probably do - then you have to make time.

Write up a schedule. Get one of those little calendars that you can write all over, and jot down all your week's obligations. Then just go back and write down (in pen) a time that will allow you at least an hour to write for each day. Even if you don't feel like writing, try to get something down. You can always go back and change it. But if you make sure you write daily, you're more likely to get that novel written or that poem perfected. Another thing: if something else comes up, try to schedule it around your writing time. It should be one - and only one - of your top priorities.

One thing all writers fear is rejection - even the most experienced writers do. An ill worded critique from a relative can completely shatter a writer's confidence. The thing to remember is that they're not purposely being hurtful. They're trying to help, and you need to swallow your pride and accept what they have to say. A sensitive skin is not the quality of a successful writer. To see more about coping with rejection,
click here.

As for the popularity of your writing…some people will enjoy what you write, some won't. That's how it is - that's life. You simply can't please everyone all the time. We all go through it. Just do what you can and take the praise you can get proudly. Be tough and accept the stones thrown at you with a steady gait. Later on, it'll all pay off.

The point is this. Follow the goals and dreams you have for your writing without taking "no" for a final answer. If someone doesn't like your writing, keep trying. Keep improving yourself, and you'll get there, eventually.

Mostly importantly, though - keep writing!

Copyright 2004 Kristin Tilley


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