As a young writer, I have connected with many writers my age who are on all levels of the commitment spectrum. Based on my own connections and observations, I have found that there are two prominent “types” of aspiring writers/authors. There are those confident in their choice to pursue writing. Then there are those that have the interest or potential to convey their profound ideas through writing, but lack the motivation to utilize it or the knowledge to navigate it. There are so many young people out there that have a voice worth listening to; a story worth telling. What is hindering them from sharing that story? Based on my own observations and experiences, I have come up with the following possible reasons for the lack of young authors. Along with these, I offer some solutions to help counteract the problematic circumstance presented.
First, young writers just don’t get enough exposure. People and publishers just don’t seem to know we’re here. Or, if they do, they aren’t seeking us out. Whatever the reason for it, the lack of attention is a hindrance to young writers who desire to share their story. How can we share if we think no one is around to listen? I see this problem being solved by banding together to raise awareness. We must work together to get young writer’s work into the right hands. This can be done by hosting events, utilizing social media platforms, and supporting young authors with encouragement and advice. If more attention can be drawn to young writers, there’s a higher chance for publishers and prominent people in the writing community to publish young writers.
Second, time. Time is a struggle for young people nowadays. There’s school to keep up with. On top of that there’s sports, work, and social activities. This doesn’t leave much time for writing, which can be another turn off to publishers. When a young writer doesn’t have much time to write, it takes longer to reach deadlines and make progress on their work.
Third, with young writers there is a lack of experience when it comes to the technical side of writing and publishing process. Writing is hard and getting your work published is even harder. Often young writers still have much to learn in order to reach the level of skill that most publishers look for. Also, the steps it takes to get published can be daunting when you don’t know your way around the industry. This lack of experience and knowledge might be what hinders publishers and other writing institutions (newspapers, etc…) from working with young writers.
My solution for this lack of experience and time is more of a proposition/vision. You know how in sports, there are recruitment coaches? They go around and visit teams to watch them play and then pick players to recruit. What if there was something similar for young writers? I see some kind of new position in a publishing company or writing group/committee that “recruits” young writers. However, this recruitment has a bit of a twist. It wouldn’t just be picking those writers skilled enough to be published. It would be a “recruit to teach” kind of thing. We combine the recruitment with an apprenticeship, per se. There would be a few published authors and/or experienced editors, who would recruit young writers and then coach them in their writing endeavors. These young writers would learn about writing technicalities, but also about the publishing process from those who have done it before. And they would get to work on their own writing projects. So that as they write their stories, they are learning; gaining knowledge and experience.
While this would be enhancing their writing skills, it would also provide time to write. I would say this is definitely educational. I see this apprenticeship possibly being counted as a class/course that could be completed during school hours. If that could happen it would be something issued into the student’s school schedule, thus giving them an allotted writing time. There is so much that this kind of solution could offer young writers.
Along with the reasons I’ve shared for the lack of young authors, there are many more to be considered. Just as there are solutions. As I stated before, young people have so much to offer the YA genre, and not just that. They have much to offer any genre. There’s a whole new world of ideas out there that need to be heard. Ultimately, I think it comes down to encouraging young writers and bringing attention to their work, because each writer’s work is worth a spotlight. No matter the age, we all deserve to share our story with the world.
Michaela is eighteen-years-old and passionate about taking Christ’s name to every corner of the world. She is an aspiring writer and avid reader, documenting her life on her blog MichaelaJoy. On any given day, no matter the time or place, you will spot her with coffee and/or a book in hand. She is currently abroad in England serving with Youth With a Mission.