If you’re a teen who loves to write, there’s no point in waiting to begin crafting your talent. In fact, establishing early in your life what you are interested in pursuing is a huge benefit—as long as you know what to do and how to do it. Just be careful that you’re using this time of honing your writing skills the right way. So if you’re an aspiring author, here are a few tips I suggest to steer yourself in the right direction:
- Read. Have you ever heard of a recording artist who doesn’t listen to any music except her own? The best way to learn to write is to read other’s work. Read more than just one author and read more than just one genre.
- Write. Whether it’s short stories, poems, writing prompts, lyrics, journaling… even if you feel that your writing is horrible. Keep doing it.
- Research. If writing is something you know you’re going to want to eventually make a career out of, you need to research how to write the right way. Buy writing how-to books. Learn the techniques of whatever it is you’re most interested in (fiction, nonfiction, short stories, etc.) Follow blogs that post writing tips. There are even some websites that are solely for the purpose of encouraging and teaching young writers, such as Go Teen Writers, Teenage Author, and Today’s Teen Writer.
- Write a “practice” novel. Know that this most likely will not be the one you will end up getting published. No matter how good you think it is, after learning more about this craft, your writing and story-telling skills will improve. Eventually you’ll look back and laugh at your first book. You have to start somewhere. Establish the genre that you’re writing on and read books in that genre. Write your first book for fun, as a way to learn—not with the intention of getting it published.
Now ask yourself this question: Am I writing just as a hobby, so that when I do decide to pursue this career after school I’ll already be prepared? Or am I writing because I want to go ahead and get a head-start and pursue this early in life? Know that not everyone will go the same route in their writing career. Being published as a teen may sound appealing to you right now—but it may not to God. Pray. Move according to His timing, not yours. But most importantly, make sure that you’re not forcing a path in your life where God didn’t intend for there to be.
If you feel as if you’d at least like to try to get published early, don’t jump in without getting your feet wet first. This will take time, no matter how bad you want it now. Desperation in this industry, especially if you’re a “newbie”, isn’t good. If you really want to be a good writer, you must take time and know that this isn’t a “snap your fingers” kind of thing. You were not born with the know-how to write. You may have been born with the God-given talent of writing, but that doesn’t give you the freedom to skip the learning process of writing techniques, researching the industry, and studying the craft. Never be so desperate that you do this, confident that you’re writing is “good enough”.
When you are ready to begin taking your writing seriously—meaning you’ve already been through the long process of research, you’ve written a couple of practice books, and of course prayed about this—here’s what I recommend:
- Start a blog.
Are you a teenager who is seeking publication,
and if so, what stage are you in right now?
What would you recommend to a teenager who loves to write and
may be considering it as an early career?
Do you think it’s best for a teen to spend their youth
focusing on writing
only as a hobby for now,
or going ahead and getting an early start,
if that’s where they feel that God is calling them?