July 19, 2014

Teenage Writer? Whaaa?

If you're a teenager who likes to write, keep at it.  If you have the desire to write, it's because you're a writer.  Only writers want to write. Others may wish they could or would, but they don't want to dig in and do it.  So, stir up the gift that is in you.  Here are five things you can do to fan your talent into flame:

1.  Always jot down your grand ideas.  Don't tell yourself you'll remember such dynamic words or powerful sentences, because you won't.  You'll later spend two hours digging inside your head, only to pull out a few clumps of tangled letters and syllables, while your partner complains that you're too preoccupied to follow the movie you chose to watch together.

2.  Save every single poem, article, story or video game idea.  Create a simple filing system to organize your starts, middles and endings.  File your profound discoveries and your excellent word arrangements.  If you wrote an angry poem because your significant other is overlooking you for someone else, don't throw it out, throw him/her out!   File your poem for later motivation, contemplation, and to remind you he/she was not for you anyway.

3.  Write something every day.  Make a deliberate attempt to write at least a phrase or sentence that is out of the ordinary.  Text it to yourself while you wait for your friend to try on seven pairs of shoes, or for your turn on Xbox.  You may want to journal or blog too.  Your Facebook status or Snapchat don't count unless you intentionally write something other than "tbh, lol or whaaa?"

4.  Pretend you're someone else for a few minutes, someone older or someone from another country, or planet.  It doesn't matter, just someone who isn't you.  Act out that character and make a note of what that person would do or say in a specific situation.  Don't do this during a school exam or parental lecture, unless suspension or being grounded is your idea of fun.

5.  Write with your heart first and then your head, but be sure to use both.  Your heart holds the passion for engaging writing, and your head is needed later for editing.  One without the other creates either a mess of bewildering emotion or a textbook.  Writing with only your heart could provide a possible exception to tip #2's "don't throw it out."

When you're dreaming of an eloquent poem or story, one that squeezes your chest in the delicious presence or agonizing absence of love, please reach for your pen, or keyboard.  The wistful far-away look in your eye is actually a poem or story pleading to be written.  Or if you're inspired by an action-packed narrative filled with the angst and anticipation that video games are made of, don't keep it to yourself.  Share it with the world!  You can do it.  You must do it.  You're a writer!


  1. Brilliant, Linda. Advice worded for youth is always wonderfully understandable!

    If you haven't already, you should send this to a teen or young adult publication. Kids need this kind of permission to get started.


  2. Good advice even for me--I need to have a pen and paper by my bed because sometimes I wake up in the night with a great word or phrase or idea and then it's gone by morning. I like the message you are sending to youth--to have the freedom to express. Beautiful.

  3. This made me chuckle :) I just love how you targeted the teenage audience to a tee! I am sending this to my teenage daughter's email right now.


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