What I Love About Young Writers

What I Love About Young Writers

So I have been having some success with Tumblr lately. Despite it being very fandom heavy, it is possible to expand your audience using this website just by being socially involved with other users. This sounds like complete common sense, but when I say Tumblr is fandom heavy, it is super fandom heavy. You have Dr. Who, Sherlock, Hannibal, Homestuck, John Green, ect… It seems like unless you’re established already, you can’t possibly hope to get anywhere. But I am, slowly but surely. And it’s been worth it. People are excited about my book.

Every night, when I’ve finished with my writing, I like to open up my Ask Box on Tumblr for Anons and questions in general. They’ve all been about writing and publishing, and most of them are from young writers, which excites me because they are my audience and it’s just amazing to see talented, driven young men and women wanting to make it in the same field I am involved with.

In any case, I heavily adore the young writers.

  1. They don’t take it for granted that being published is awesome. It is awesome being published. Granted, it’s not earth-shattering or life-altering, but it shows you worked your butt off to get your manuscript to a place of publishability (this is a word now, says me). I feel like older writers get so caught up in sales and how difficult it is to get published, that they forget there is a sort of magic to knowing you’re getting published or that you are publishing–both traditional and self-publishing. It’s just plain awesome because now you can make money doing what you love, and it’s even more awesome knowing that people you don’t even know are reading your book. Young writers don’t take this for granted and feel like it’s an amazing thing to be talking to a published author–or an author publishing or about to be published.
  2. They look up to you. Seriously. They do. And it’s a freaking amazing feeling to know that you are a role model to these younger writers. If they love what you have written or can’t wait for your book to come out, they’re going to look to you for guidance. They’re going to go to you with questions. For me, I answer them as honestly as I can. I don’t like to claim I’m an expert in my field. I really don’t feel it. I’m simply a writer and that is all, but I will help whenever I can.
  3. There is some talent out there. There really is, and it’s awesome to watch as they grow and improve, and, in some cases, surpass you. I know I want these young writers to surpass me because I feel like books do make the world a better place, just for the messages they instill. The better that these young writers get, the more these messages can mean something, the more interconnected the world will be. I think.
  4. They are intelligent. Reading snippets of what some of these young writers write on Tumblr has shaped my own writing and keeps me in the voice of a teenager. I feel like I will forever be writing YA because it is the one genre I love to read. So reading some of these teens’ writing helps me to get in the mindset of a teenager for my own writing because a lot of teens write about themselves.
  5. They want to know what you’re writing. I get this all the time on Tumblr. What are you writing? And of course I have no qualms talking about it because I’ve already written it. But I keep it to a minimum.
  6. They are curious. This is perhaps my favorite thing about young writers. They want to know everything there is to know about writing and the publishing industry. They want to know this from experienced writers. Of course, as an experienced writer you have to gently tell them to do the research, but it’s still cool to know that they want to know it from you.
  7. They have an intense interest in books. Seriously, I’ve never seen such fiery passion about certain books from young writers–or readers, really. They really want to talk about their favorite books, and I have no problem with this because their favorite books are often mine. I mean, I love John Green, and I love that there is a fandom for him composed of young readers and writers. There is so much fan art of his books, and that is freaking awesome because it keeps you as a writer dreaming of others doing fan art of your own book one day.


So these are just some of my favorites things about young writers. What are you favorite things about writers in general?



The Dancing Writer’s Pointe Shoes, Volume II

The Dancing Writer’s Pointe Shoes, Volume II

My feet in my somewhat dirty pointe shoes. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but since I plan to be in my revising chambers, I decided to leave you guys with a digest of ten of my most popular posts. Also, I would love recommendations for things you guys would like me to write about. I’ll probably be doing one post a day now that I am throwing myself at revisions of Stolentime, and so I would appreciate some inspiration. Also, keep an eye out later tonight for a guest blog post.

Stupid Writing Advice

Writers Must Live to Write, Not Write to Live

Advice to Young Writers

The Importance of Follower Appreciation

What Writers Owe Readers and Vice Versa

Symptoms of Clinical Depression Are Not Romantic for Writers

Publishing a Book: A Single Interview Question

We’re All Professional Writers

The Madness of Revisions

The Madness of the Value of Books

Why I Write

Why I Write

tumblr_mldcekNfEE1s5prmbo1_500Today’s guest blogger is Isabella Marks. You can find her here. Enjoy!

The easy answer, the cliché, and the honest truth all rolled into one: because I have to.

Well, maybe that’s not entirely true, because I don’t HAVE to. I just want to so badly that NOT doing it would leave a serious hole in my life, not just in how I spend my time, but in how I see the world.

I first TOLD stories before I even started school, getting my toys, books, and clothes into an order, and then bringing them out one at a time to show the audience I was telling my story to.  

I first wrote stories in the first grade. Our teacher would give us weekly writing assignments, and I loved it. I learned how to use the dictionary to look up words because I wanted to spell them right. I took my writing seriously, even if it was just about Bert and Ernie making macaroni and cheese for their friends.

As elementary school wore on I would live for those times when we would have creative writing assignments. In third grade our teacher would bring in piles of pictures taken from magazines, and make us choose one by reaching into a bag. We had no control over what we would get, and we HAD to write a story using the picture. Our whole class hated that bag. Except me. I loved it.

In middle school, I entered the Young Authors contest four years in a row, and in seventh grade gave up writing, and then knew I was going to do it forever, all within twenty four hours.

For my Young Authors submission that year I’d written a story about a girl whose best friend died when they were in first grade. In my story she visited her friend’s grave every year on the last day of summer to tell her about all the fun things she missed doing with her, and on the last day of school to tell her about the school year she missed.

My teacher wouldn’t let me submit it because it wasn’t ‘fun’.

That made me think something was wrong with me because I’d enjoyed writing it. I didn’t have ‘fun’ writing it. I wasn’t obsessed with death, and I certainly didn’t get pleasure out of the idea of a dead first grader.

But I enjoyed telling the story. I enjoyed the process of starting a story with a funeral, and then bringing my character through all the emotions she had through her years of growing up, all while helping her keep track of missing her friend.

The story made me think of my grandfather, who’d taken me shopping for crayons before I started kindergarten, and then wanted to hear every detail of my first day of school. I was going to tell him about my first day of school every year but he died before I got out of kindergarten.

I enjoyed telling a story that was about real feelings.

The girl who won that year told a story about spending the day at the mall.

I gave up writing that day, assuming I did it wrong and didn’t understand what it was supposed to be about.

The next day I put Cemetery Conversations into one of my trapper keepers (I had three that I bought at a garage sale, and used them to store all my stories, poems, journals, and ideas), and lay down on my bed to write a letter to myself so I wouldn’t forget WHY I was giving up writing.

In the process of writing that letter I realized that I wrote for myself, and not for anyone else.

I wrote because I had things I wanted to say. And the written word allowed me to say them the way I wanted to.

I could denounce evil. I could celebrate justice. I could use words to love what was worth loving, and to explain why some things weren’t worth admiring.

I began to journal constantly. I began to make myself write, even when the words wouldn’t come I’d write about breakfast, or what I’d seen on TV, or what I wanted my mom to understand about my life.

I’d write stories on the school bus. In study hall. On my bed. With a flashlight at night. On the porch. Sometimes instead of doing homework. And once at a slumber party when everyone else there made fun of me for not knowing how to fit in, I sat in the living room by myself and wrote a story where I did fit in.

And that is why I write.

I have control. In real life, most of us accept that we can’t control everything. Alone with my notebook and pen, or the old typewriter I had in high school, or the computer I bought in college, or the laptop I have now (even though I still carry a notebook everywhere, because you never know when an idea will strike), I have control over the worlds I create, and the characters I bring to life.

I can say the things I can’t say otherwise.

I can even tell my grandfather about my day.

That’s why I write.
Advice to Young Writers

Advice to Young Writers

tumblr_mmkxkqNXQQ1sqwr7co1_500 I am not here to deliver any harsh reality advice about being a writer because there is enough of that nonsensical advice floating around. I want to put a stop to that because I see a lot of young writers divvying out this advice, and I’m not sure where they’re getting it from. Jaded writers who had to *gasp* work really hard to get published? Jaded writers who had to *gasp* put up with rejection? Just stop giving out advice that basically tells writers why they don’t want to be writers. Yeah, writing is hard and time consuming and maybe soul sucking from time to time, but it is not for other writers to decide who should stick with writing and who shouldn’t. That is up for the individual writer alone to decide, not you. Never you. All you need to be doing is writing.

So here’s some positive advice to encourage you, rather than deter you.

Writing is freaking hard but so is anything worthwhile. You’re young. Most likely your writing won’t be publishable until you’re older–and I’m talking about publishable for the big leagues, not your school newspaper or anthology, though that is still pretty cool. And even if you do get published, that won’t be your best starting out. I don’t think When Stars Die will be my best starting out. I’d like for it to be, but I’m 22 going on 23. I still have so many years left in my life to improve my craft.

Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Have you ever noticed that when teen writers make mistakes, reviewers excuse them on the basis that they’re teens? But when adult writers make mistakes, they’re chastised as bad writers? You want to make the best darn first book you can, so don’t be in a hurry to find an agent who will launch you to publishing stardom. Take your time. I’m so glad I took my time.

Don’t write to become rich, but it doesn’t mean you can’t dream about it.  I always say set your goals high so you work that much harder. My dream is to be a full-time writer, and I am going to work super hard to make that a reality. I’m going to keep writing and doing the best that I can to make certain I am noticed.

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re a crap writer. “The expert in anything was once a beginner.” It’s going to be rough starting out, but you’re going to get better. You know why? Because you have to. Because you have options now. You can self-publish, and while it’s not easy, it means you can get your work read by others and earn money. That option didn’t exist when I was thirteen or fourteen or even eighteen. Self-publishing has always been around, but it was never accessible without thousands of dollars. And you’re young! The writing will always be there, and there are so many resources out there that can help you better your writing. Have fun with it. Remember why you started writing and stick with it.

And last, don’t act like you’re an expert, because you’re probably not–hence why I seethe when I read such negative advice from such young writers. You may have had an essay published or even a short story, but you know as much about the business as someone unpublished. The business is fickle, ever changing, so don’t profess to know it. I don’t profess to know it at all.