It’s that time of the month again: the day of Insecure Writer’s Support Group! I didn’t blog last month for reasons I have now forgotten (to be honest, I probably just forgot…) but today I am posting. The topic I am writing about today is young writers, and the reason is that I am a young writer, and that can makes me feel over-looked in today’s world of writing.
By this time next month, I will be eighteen years of age – I will have voted for the first time, as our next election is the 5th May and my birthday is the 3rd. I will be able to buy myself drinks legally. I will be able to do all sorts of things that only “adults” can do – including enter so many more writing competitions which I can’t at the 17 years of age I am currently at.
Firstly, let’s ask why is this. Just because I am 17 doesn’t mean that my writing ability is any less than yours – even, for instance, if an older writer begins to write again after many years of doing something completely different, my technical ability could even be more advance than this writer. Of course that doesn’t make my writing or style any better, and therefore it doesn’t make the completed product any better, but I think that a lack of “experience” is a pointless argument which publishers and competitions might put up to stop young writers from entering competitions or publishing their work.
So maybe it’s a legal thing, yes? There is no law against under 18s entering competitions, especially ones where they have to actually do something to enter! I understand some competitions, but if someone has the ability to do it, and there isn’t even any prize except bragging rights… why aren’t they allowed to enter?
I think that young writers are being discriminated against, because of their age. So why does this make me feel insecure? Because it makes me feel invalidated as a writer – I feel that the older writers look down on young writers because they think the younger ones want to be popular or successful or are money driven. Guess what – that’s not true! I know so many younger writers who write because that is what they love to do. Sure, all writers dream of being the next JK Rowling or EL James. Most people know that’s not realistic, but some don’t – and it’s not just young writers in that category.
In a month, I won’t have this problem, but many young writers will. There are some brilliant people and programs out there, like Laura Thomas Communications who are trying to help young writers, but surely it’s the mass media and the presentation of young writers which needs to change. Many young adult authors are adults, so why are people so out of tune with the audience of this best-selling genre? Whatever happened to raising the next generation? News flash: that didn’t just mean in politics (by the way, politicians out there? You aren’t doing such a great job either).
Of course, the presentation of young writers is getting better, but it’s still not enough. I think some of the comments on my blog and other writing I have around on the internet speaks a lot: “What? You can’t be 17! You write so much more maturely than that!” (thanks, by the way, to all of those lovely people who make me feel like my writing is actually decent and worth it. You’re lovely people).
This post has been a bit of a rant, but this is something that is close to my heart, so even when I become a fully-fledged adult in a month (only in age might I add) I will continue to fight the side of the young writers. Who else is going to otherwise?