Saturday, November 6, 2010

Teen Writer's Part 2: The Disadvantages

Last week I discussed why I believe teenagers shouldn't wait to pursue their writing dream. In this post I'll talk about the possible disadvantages of being a teen author.

Not every dream is going to be as glamorous as you've imagined. Writing is a commitment. It involves a big chunk of time out of your daily life just to sit down at the computer and write. Of course, this sounds exciting for me, since I've always been one who loves finding a quiet place to tap away on my keyboard. But just like any other commitment, there are things you should think about before pursuing writing at a young age. Here are just a few that you may want to take into consideration:

  • Unless you're as successful as Nicholas Sparks, the chances of your books bringing you fame and fortune are not very likely. According to author Jody Hedlund's recent post, an average writer will earn more as a greeter at Wal-Mart than from writing. So if you're hoping to be a teen author just so you can have of money, you may want to re-think this.
  • Writing is a hobby - but being an author is a job. It's not only about writing a book and finding a publisher to publish it. You will need to go through the long and dreary editing process with your editor, establish social networking with other writers (which is a form of promotion), and also market your book. Not only will you have school deadlines, but you will have deadlines with your book, too.
  • If you're hoping to publish before you graduate high school, keep in mind that you will be sacrificing a lot of your high school experiences. This is no problem for me. I'd rather begin ministering to people through my writing while I'm still young. But if you are a social butterfly (unlike myself), then you may want to wait a while before beginning your writing career. I have had to cancel plans with my friends before because there was too much writing that had to be done. However, you may be able to manage both the teenage and the author lifestyles - but some people may prefer to enjoy their youth while they can without having to worry about a career. And that's fine. God has a different plan for everyone, and you're only a teen once.
  • Not everyone is going to be nice. What I mean is, there will be people who will give you harsh critiques. Some of these will be from people who are in the industry, and others will be from random people who voice their opinion on Amazon reviews. In writing, you will be rejected. You will be critiqued. Not everyone is going to like your work. This is one of the reasons why many adults think that teenagers should stay away from being published until they've developed a "thick enough skin" for rejection. To be honest, I don't think we will handle rejection very well even after we are adults. However, you may want to let God allow you to mature a little longer before getting involved in such a ruthless industry.
For me, the advantages of being a teen author completely outweigh the disadvantages. It's worth the time, sacrifice, rejection, and stress. Besides, all of the work will eventually pay off when that first published book is in your hands. If you feel discouraged about pursuing this craft but still don't want to wait, keep in mind that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

If you are out of high school, what is your opinion? Do you think teenagers should get a jump start on writing as a career, or wait? What are some other possible disadvantages of being a teen author?


  1. I wish I had the drive and know how when I was a teen, but I didn't know what I wanted to do. Now at 39, I feel like God is giving me the direction I need. :O)

  2. Great and insightful article, thanks for sharing.

  3. I think.... if you want to write, just write. No matter how old you are, if you want to write, write. Of course, that involves a lot of discipline and is easier said than done. I'm 19, in third year at university and was sent to the library by my writing prof this week. It gave me an excuse to read... and read I did, children's books, junior fiction, teen fic, non-fic.... and very honestly speaking, I don't feel like I'm where I'm at - at the age surrounded by all these young adults around me. I feel as I did at fifteen, but then, I was a pretty odd fifteen year old, definitely preferring to crawl in a hole and write instead of socialise.
    Thank you for sharing! I'm glad I stumbled across your site.

  4. It would have been nice to be in this position at that age. The WIP I'm working draws havily on soemthin that happened at 14, so I could have written it then. But probably not in the same way. And I probably would have chosen to write something else.

    So, yes adn no.

  5. I was just saying to hubby today I wish I'd kept up my writing as a teenager and young adult the experience gained and rythym for writing are so invaluable. :O)

  6. I started writing stories in grade school. I wrote stories and poetry in high school that were published in the school's creative writing magazine. I wrote in college, and won some contests and had some of the stuff published on campus. I had children, couldn't write a lot. I kept writing, though, snippets of poems when I couldn't do anything much longer.

    If you want to write, just write and keep writing. Sounds like you're realistic enough at such a young age to know what you're up against if you want to make money and/or be published. Yes, as writer Orson Scott Card says, writing is NOT the best way to earn money. So write for the love of it, but keep trying to get published if that's what you want! I suspect you will do well at whatever you set your mind to do.

    I noticed that you found my blog. Glad you did since that brought me over here to meet YOU!

  7. I am 17 and have been writing a book for several years (sort of on and off, due to scheduling) in which not waiting to live your life is a large theme. By this, I mean that young people should not wait until they are older to start living their lives for Christ, that they should go ahead and find the path that He has for them. The people in my book have a very can-do attitude. They don't wait for someone else to do things; they get up and do it themselves.


Thanks for stopping by my blog!