NATIONAL ENCOURAGE A YOUNG WRITER DAY
Today in the U.S., we’re celebrating National Encourage a Young Writer Day. And that has a lot of people asking why we need to encourage young writers, or any writers, for that matter. The answer why is simple . . . and complex.
First, a few facts about writers.
- They sacrifice to write. They invest heavily in a venture that might not ever be seen by another human being, much less licensed and published.
- They hear no a lot more often than they hear yes. Especially early on, writers (of any age) are learning the craft of writing. Then they focus on learning the craft and the business. Then they focus on the craft, the business, and the life, which is amazingly less artsy and more practical, requiring a lot more juggling, than most imagine.
- They cope with not being taken seriously until they publish—and self-published works are ignored until the writer proves they shouldn’t be with more financial success than is typically required of a traditionally published work. This is the case whether or not the writer’s objective is to sell what s/he writes. So validation and affirmation are scarce.
- They begin and are often overwhelmed with how much non-writing is required in writing. Without a mentor or someone willing to show the writer the ropes, the process can be intimidating, off-putting, and writers, especially young writers, can lose heart for the writing. Their unique voices are silenced, and that’s an enormous, immeasurable loss to all.
- Criticism is for the work produced, but especially early on, writers take it as criticism of them, the human beings. It’s not, but because writers put so much of themselves into their work, they feel criticism personally. And too often, they don’t have someone around who’s been through it to guide them through the letting go of it process. Harsh criticism too often has negativity steeping and breeding in the writer, and he or she begins to question every single word s/he writes. That’s not only stifling, it’s destructive and many reach a point where writing just isn’t worth it.
- They don’t yet realize that there isn’t another person in the world who cares whether or not they write. And whether they do or not is solely dependent on the writer. His or her desire, passion for writing, his or her discipline to write anyway. To have enough fire to write inside to not rely on anyone else to give them what they need to keep going is essential, and it takes time and a willingness to keep trying anyway to get to the point of realizing it’s not about others, it’s about the writer.
I could go on, but here’s the thing: Young writers doesn’t define an age group of writers, through it can. It defines a group of people who are new to writing, and you can be new at anything at any age.
ENCOURAGE YOUNG WRITERS BECAUSE…
- Writing is an adventure. If you love it, odds are good that you always will love it, and if you don’t, you might dabble in it, but you’ll never be driven to do it. You’ll never have to pull into a parking lot to jot down notes on a plot or a character. You’ll never wake up in the middle of the night with an answer to a riddle you couldn’t grasp earlier. You’ll never hide in the bathroom at a party because you’re at a point in the story where you have to see what happens next and a snip of a scene just came to you and you have to put it on paper before you lose it.
- Writing is liberating. If you love it, you’ll love exploring all sides of issues and events. You’ll write through them to decide what you think, doing your best to play fair with both sides and letting the chips fall where they may. You’ll find the freedom to express your thoughts and ideas, to live out your dreams and explore many things that in life you might want to explore—or not. You may take refuge in the adventure from your chair and let the journey play out on the page.
- Writing is a lifelong passion. If you love it, you’ll never be content not doing it. That’s not to say it must be a career, only that you must write. It’s your way of making sense of the world, of events, of people, and of yourself. You write to it, then write through it. You observe and notice little things; things that others ignore, miss, don’t see at all. Some of these things strike you as profound and significant, and some are just interesting or intriguing and raise questions in your mind that you want answered.
- Most writers write because they have something to say that they want others to hear. Young writers are no different. They have a lot to say, the enthusiasm and passion to say it, and the courage to let fresh ideas and new insights play out on the page.
- Young writers have much to offer the rest of us. Much to share that gives the rest of us the opportunity to reignite, to see things through their eyes, and from their perspectives. Young writers will help their readers make sense of their own worlds, share their wisdoms and ways through their stories.
For these reasons and so very many more, we need to encourage our young writers. Storytelling has been a means of self- and social-identity and discovery throughout history. And it is these young writers who will carry the torch for the next generation.
Let them do so carrying our support and hopes for their success with them.
© 2014, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Bride, Shadow Watchers, Book 1. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com.
Subscribe to Vicki’s Newsletter.