Monday, 9 May 2011

Please Don't Rush!


As a teenage writer and having belonged to a YA writing community, I have noticed there is a lot of focus on becoming published for younger writers - some of these people are thirteen years old. I am not saying that thirteen year olds cannot write, merely that they should not be so concerned with publishing at their age. In fact, it seems to me that half of these people do not realise a) what publishing actually involves and b) what it would mean for them to be published.

It startles to me that someone on one of these boards only did three drafts of their novel before deciding to write a query letter and synopsis - only because they thought it was the 'right time' rather than if their book was in any state to be seen. Also, this person made it immensely clear it was because they were pressed for time that they had to get this published - before they were of a certain age (or at least that is what I reckon at any rate).

It seems that half of these people want their stuff to get published asap rather than when they are ready for it. It takes years to perfect the craft and it takes even longer to gain experience to write. You have to have lived a little.

If any new writers come across this blog listen closely: there is no rush to be published before you are twenty years old. I know there are dreams of becoming the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer and earning loads of money - but if you are in it for the money my friends, then perhaps a different route would be more suitable. The harsh reality of it is, is that many authors do not get fat wedges of cash for their work which means they are set for life (what happened to Rowling and Meyer was exceptionally rare). Royalties tend to come to about thirty five percent of the books price. It's not even half!

Using Rowling as a prime example of why it is good to wait - she spent seventeen years altogether, completing and finishing her series. Now look at her. Patience is a virtue - and in writing it is even more so.

But it's not all doom and gloom. I am not saying give up on your dreams if you ADORE writing, instead why not enter competitions for teenage writers? That way you can already start to rise above of your ages. Or join a local writers circle - they are always looking for young writers.

I joined one and have never looked back. It's been a wonderful experience. The people you meet there will inspire you and teach you invaluable things.

There is really no rush. You have the rest of your lives to be published. You should only feel ready to publish when you are a) ready and b) have a spotless novel that you have completed and have utter confidence in.

Here are some articles that I have collected over the years...

I was first shown this article about a year ago and have subsequently favourited it. It hurts to read it the first time round, but there is truth in it. It's not the end of the world though, do what I did, feel the need to prove this guy wrong and keep on writing and developing your writing as much as possible!

And a video by the delightful writer Maureen Johnson

Hope you guys are well and keep on writing!

Ellen x

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