I'm like that wise tree in Pocahontas. Except I'm not a talking tree.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A blog post about me (kind of - actually more about this post) on Jezebel. You know, like that really awesome site that gets upwards of a million hits daily? (And they linked my blog post on Galleycat, too!) (Thanks Helen for letting me know about this!)

Sometimes I read stuff that other people have said about Steph Bowe and feel jealous of her and think maybe I'd like to meet her one day because she seems pretty damned precocious and pretty good-looking too. Then I realise I am Steph Bowe and not only have I met her, I've been existing in her body for the last sixteen years. You guys, it's pretty fantastic and terrifying all at once. People expect stuff from me. It freaks me out.

On to the thing I want to talk about in this post.

There are two recurring themes I'm noticing whenever I/other people talk about teenagers getting published. They are:

  1. That books by teenaged authors are bad because they were teenagers when they wrote them; and,
  2. That writers who are adults now are grateful that they weren't published as teenagers because they weren't prepared.
And hearing these things can be disheartening for a young writer. Well, I mean, they're disheartening to me. And I want to tell you two things, two very important things that I have said before and will say again, and that you should particularly listen to (well, so long as you want to listen to it) if you're a young writer. They are:
  1. Being young does not necessarily make you a bad writer. You can be a beginner (meaning you haven't yet written enough to become a great writer) at any age. Crappy books are published all the time, it happens - and they are written by people of all ages. The author being a teenager is not as fantastic a marketing gimmick as it was ten years ago. A publisher will not publish a book based on the author's age alone. Okay? So if you read my book, and you think it's rubbish, I'd much rather you say that I need more experience as a writer, rather than 'This book! It's crap! She was fifteen when she wrote it, that's why!'
  2. Everyone's journey in life is different. You may be prepared to be published at sixteen or at sixty. Your writing may be mature enough already, or it might not be. Just because other people think that they weren't prepared to be published at a young age doesn't mean you aren't. That said, though, being published is massively stressful and you probably won't have time to do anything but do schoolwork and manage the business of writing and write in your spare time. It's up to you whether or not you want to make that commitment. Don't feel you have to (it's not a race!) but don't let people dissuade you from following your dreams, either.
And, just to remind you, I'm not a prodigy. I just wrote a book. I got lucky and it got published. This is the sort of thing that can happen to any young writer, all right?
Okay, I've rambled on enough. Back to schoolwork and editing for me (lots of book reviews, more contests and product reviews coming soon, you guys!).
But first... I'm thinking of doing a Q&A post (if there are enough questions!) So you can either email me or comment below with questions for me, about publishing, being a young writer, whatever you think I may be knowledgable in.
So, questions?
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