Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teen Writer's Part 1: Why Wait?

I haven't been published yet, therefore I cannot speak about being a teen author from experience. But I have been offered a publishing contract, and I have a strong opinion on why I believe teenagers shouldn't feel as though they have to "wait" to pursue their dreams. If your aspirations seem high, don't let your age stop you from believing that you can succeed. Keep in mind that studying and practicing are necessary first steps to pursuing your dreams, however, if you delight yourself in the Lord then He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

If you are a teen writer, you may wonder "How can I pursue my dream of being published at such a young age with so many odds against me? Everyone says to wait until I'm older because I will be a more developed and mature writer. Besides, there are too many people discouraging me and telling me that there's no way that I'll ever get published - much less published while I'm still young." It's true that you'll be a better writer when you are older, but you are better today than you were a few years ago! Why not begin today developing your skills and striving for perfection? As William Hurt says in the movie Artificial Intelligence, "The greatest single human gift is the ability to chase down our dreams." Whatever your age, there's no better time to pursue your dreams than now.

May I remind you of a teenager named David from the Bible? Yes, he was only a "kid". I'm sure there were many people telling him that he wasn't old enough or strong enough to face the giant. He was scoffed and ridiculed. But what did he do? Did he give up and decide that he would wait until he was older and stronger because maybe there would be another giant to fight in his future if he was patient? No. Instead, even as the giant laughed to his face, he clenched the stone in his fist with determination. He placed it in his sling and ran toward the giant. His eyes were focused only on his target as he whirled his sling into the air. He knew that the weaker he was, the more God's strength could be used through him. ("For My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9) And guess what? With only one small pebble, the giant was defeated!

Don't let others try to convince you that you're too young to pursue your dreams. Have you noticed that in the Bible many of the people God used to prove his power were the weak ones? The ones that others never thought would achieve anything. For example, Moses stuttered but became a great leader. Joseph was hated by his older brothers and sold into slavery, however, later he was in a position of authority over them. And, of course, young David slayed the giant. Just to name a few.

God has given you this desire for a purpose. He will use it in whatever way he purposes to fulfill His glory. However, this may, in fact, not be something that's going to happen now. He might not want you to try to be published at a young age. He has a different plan for each of us. But that doesn't mean give up! Either way, follow His direction, and trust His timing.

Being published is a journey, not a race. Do everything you can now to hone your craft, but don't feel as if you're in a hurry. And the next time someone tries to convince you that you'll never get anywhere in your writing career - or whatever your career dream may be, think about David. He didn't allow anything to get in his way.


"You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. Follow the impulses of your heart. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; You have to answer to God for every last bit of it."
~Ecclesiastes 11:9


  1. Getting published is difficult regardless of your age. What's important is your writing skill.

    And don't forget, there're a number of YA authors whose first book was sold while they were still a teen (Hello? Kody Keplinger)

  2. Awesome post! I've had adult friends--people in their thirties and forties--tell me that they were advised to wait until they get older!

    I fully understand that you shouldn't jump the gun and submit manuscripts that aren't ready. But age shouldn't be a factor if the story and craft are up to par. It can take so long to find a publisher these days, why would you put it off?

  3. This is awesome! Thank you! I needed this. :)


  4. I didn't know about your sale! Congratulations!

    Personally, it would have been very painful for me to pursue writing in my teens and watch a handful of my peers succeed. Finally selling something almost twelve years in...the wait wasn't easy, but the timing was right.

  5. Congrats on the publishing contract. Yes you need determination and self belief to keep writing. I was more idealistic in my youth, I wish I'd harnessed that more :O)

  6. Thank you.

    I told my brother two days ago that I'm a writer. He said, "No you're not. You're a teacher."

    Not going to argue. No need to. A day will come.


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