Being a Teen Writer – Finding the Confidence to Write Seriously

teen writer 5

Okay, you’re a teenager.  And you’re a writer.  Then I’m sure you’ve experienced the blank stares and weird silence after you’ve blurted out this slightly embarrassing fact.  Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with too much of it, but I’ve had some people not take me seriously.  I’d tell someone I wanted to be an author and I’d get that look like ‘yeah, good luck’, or ‘okay…?’.

The truth is, most people don’t really understand what it takes to write a book.  Or a short story.  Or even a poem.  I mean, this madness is tough.

So, this post isn’t as informative, as it is supportive.  I mean, I went back and forth for years between calling myself a writer or an author, or just saying I ‘kind of write, sometimes…’.  But seriously, own it.  Because it’s something you love, whether you’re great at it yet, or not.


Learn about the publishing industry.


It’s never too early to start getting to know the business – I started querying when I was thirteen and although the only things I received were about a billion rejection letters, it taught me what works and what doesn’t.  So by the time I actually wrote something worth reading, I had a good idea on how to write an adequate query letter and how the whole publishing process works.  (Agents and publishers like authors who know what they’re doing – so figuring out the whole publishing process is most definitely a good idea.)


You might have an advantage.


Despite all the rolling of eyes teen authors can get from writing ‘seriously’, remember that we have an advantage.  If you’re a teen writing MG or YA, you know how teenagers think and act, you don’t have to remember it from a long-ago past.  Many serious writers struggle with Children’s, MG and YA literature because they can’t get back in touch with who they were when they were a teen or a child.  They’ve forgotten how teenagers think.  And luckily, you are one.  So you’re an expert.

Feels nice, right?  To be an expert in something?  Yep.


Practice makes perfect.


So ignore anyone who says you can’t do it and just write.  Write even if it sucks.  I have a billion unfinished and finished manuscripts that are probably some of the worst pieces of fiction I’ve ever laid eyes on.  But they made me a better writer.  And they were fun.


Have fun.


Don’t forget the fun aspect of writing.  Because after all, you are a teenager.  I mean, why did you start writing?  For instant fame and money?  I doubt it.  You started writing because you wanted to and you kept writing because you liked it.  You can be serious about your writing and have fun as well.




7 thoughts on “Being a Teen Writer – Finding the Confidence to Write Seriously

  1. S. Alex Martin says:

    I’m 20 years old, and I’ve been writing for 9 years (as of June 12, actually). I can say that I agree with these. I’ve written four novels, and for the first three, I accumulated 47 rejection letters (those three were TERRIBLE). Now for my newest, I have 1 rejection letter, and in it, the agent gave me advice and suggestions on how to open the story.

    With the practice makes perfect bit – I think writing every day is the most essential part to the writing process. I’ve gone through four drafts of this book since January 5 (and it was a 151,000-word book, which I’ve gotten down to 120,000 words). I’ve done so much with this book because I write. Every. Day. For hours on end, actually. It helps because you naturally grow stronger.

    • paulinecharris says:

      That’s great! And just ignore all those annoying rejection letters. ;P lol. I completely believe that if you try hard enough at something, you’ll succeed – I’m still trying to find an agent and trying not to lose hope. 😛 I agree, writing as often as you can is the best idea for getting better, and it’s always great to start at a young age. 🙂

  2. Amanda says:

    So I am 18 and I’ve just recently discovered that I’m forming a bit of a passion for writing. I’ve talked to my mom about a creative writing major and all I get is an eye roll and a “pfft” and yet she’ll accept beauty school. Anyway! I found a link to this site on pinterest and it gave me some inspiration. I don’t have to do a creative writing major to learn to write well. I can teach myself just by writing everyday. Not only did I get inspiration from this particular article about teens and writing. You’re 18 (happy belated birthday btw!) too and you’ve already written several books. I have been working on this one for about a month and I somehow always end up stopping because I feel like it’ll just turn into crap. So I guess I feel like if someone else my age can do it then I can too. So thanks very much for inspiring me to keep writing!

    • paulinecharris says:

      This really made my day! 🙂 Thanks! I’m so glad that my blog has helped. Yeah, I always go through that phase when I’m writing a book – about thirty pages in, I’ll go, “This is going to be horrible!” but once I keep going and finish, I realize it’s much better than I thought it was – so don’t give up. Writing books is hard so just the fact that you’re brave enough to take a stab at it is awesome!
      Thanks again for this comment – you’ve inspired me because now I think people are actually taking something away from these posts. 🙂

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