Advice to Young Writers

At the library where I work, I've recently seen a number of teens who are interested in writing. My daughter and some of her friends are included in this group. This generation of "digital natives" have some interesting ways to pursue this hobby.  They write stories on their cell phones, online, and in blogs.  Fortunately, they still know how to function with pen and paper as well.

I'd like to find a way to encourage them and perhaps give them a bit of guidance. But they are a skittish group, not ready for criticism and not interested in being taught.  This is their outside-of-school hobby, after all.

I've been thinking of holding a "workshop" for teen writers.  All who sign up for it can come into the library after hours to work on individual projects. They can share if they wish or they can just work alone.  I, and maybe one or two other local authors if I can get them, would be available if they had questions.

I am a bit unique in that I work in a library and have teen daughters, so maybe I see more beginning writers than most authors do. But I think all authors get asked sometimes for advice on writing. Like me, right now, asking you for help. I really need to know:

What sort of advice would you give to budding teen writers?


  1. Excellent post, Kara Lynn. My 11 yo son is interested in writing as well. He has participated in the kids' NaNoWriMo site, but finds it a bit too stressful. He likes working at his own pace.

    I think the best advice to give young writers is that everyone won't like what you write. Writing is subjective and people are biased. Thank God He made us all different.

    I learned this when I was 15 yrs old in English class. The assignment: write a short story. My story was a historical with a conestoga wagon and a fight scene.

    My teacher told me 'it wasn't appropriate for a 15 yr old girl' and that I should write romance like the other girls in my class. :(

    Let's just say I didn't listen to her and continued to write what was in my heart.

    And to think that now, I still write historicals, but they are all romance. LOL

    Good for you for seeing a need and doing something about it. Especially with teens who need so much positive guidance.


  2. Anita,
    Thank you so much for the encouragement. So often we think teens can take care of themselves, but forget how much guidance they still need. One thing I love about my job is that it usually allows me to be home when school gets out, even though my kids are 15 and 16. It's good to share in the excitement of a good day and to be able to commiserate on a bad day. Sometimes they just need someone there to say "Uh, that's not a good idea."