When I was a young[er] writer, I didn’t know where to turn for quality advice. I’m no expert by any means, but here’s my advice for young aspiring writers. If you want to write, keep these things in mind.
Write what you want to write
Don’t worry about what other people are writing about or have written about before. What’s important right now is simply that you write. Write fairytales, write about people at your school and change the names. Write about your fears and your successes. Just put something down on paper. It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be SOMETHING.
Show someone what you’ve done
It could be a friend or a teacher or a family member. It doesn’t matter who. Write something, and show it to someone you trust. Is that scary? Yes, it is. Being afraid that someone is going to rip your writing to pieces is completely normal, though. Your worries are completely justifiable. But there is only one way to overcome that fear, and that’s to do the thing you are afraid of. Some people will be nice and give you feedback. Some won’t say much at all. Right now, it’s all about building up your confidence and training yourself to be less afraid of putting yourself out there.
Do it because you like doing it
There are going to be people who try and convince you writing is not a hobby worth your time. There are going to be people better than you, and when they read their work out loud in class, it’s going to make you feel inadequate. Use that. Use it to turn around and achieve your dreams anyway. Write because it makes you feel good. Write because it is the only way to get your thoughts and feelings out. Write because you want to write. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
You don’t have to, if you don’t wan to
People told me I was good at writing, so I thought that was all I could ever do. No one ever told me I could write for fun and pursue other career paths. That made me extremely confused and doubtful by the time I got to college. It’s possible to love to write but not want to do it for a living. You can major in chemistry or religion or math in college and still “be a writer.” If you don’t want to make a living as a writer, you don’t have to. Some people like to write BECAUSE they don’t have to do it for work. That’s okay. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
The bottom line: just be honest with yourself. If you like writing about something, write about it. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Don’t be afraid to share your work. Write because you love to write – but don’t ever think it’s a requirement. Writing only works if you do it for the reasons you want to do it. Otherwise, it’s just spilling words onto paper that have no meaning behind them at all.
Good luck. Now get back to writing.
Image courtesy of Roco Julie.