Writers at any age will always have to deal with doubters in their lives, but teenagers especially are mocked for pursuing their dream of being a writer. Many people think literature is a dying medium, getting published is too competitive, blah blah I’m sure you’ve heard it all before–I certainly have! But you’re in luck, because I have some helpful tips for young writers who feel like no one takes them seriously.
First thing’s first—if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you have to write! This might sound simple, but writing consistently can be a daunting task. Challenge yourself to make a writing schedule so that you generate new material every week. Like anything else, you won’t get better at writing without practice. Practice may not make perfect, but it always makes progress!
The second most important thing is to read! Doctors don’t perform surgery without attending medical school first, so why would you jump ahead to writing when you haven't learned from the masters yet? Luckily, you don’t have to go to school for eight years before you become a writer. Your local library has all of the tools you need to learn what good literature looks like. Make sure you read more than just the genre you’re interested in; even if you plan on writing teen fiction, you will benefit from reading poetry, nonfiction, and classic literature.
3. Take Chances
That being said, you may think you want to write teen fiction because that’s what you know and love, but sometimes your writing can benefit from taking chances. You might discover that you are more talented at poetry or playwriting than prose, but you’ll never know unless you venture out of your comfort zone. Plus, experimenting with more mature styles of writing can cause people to take your identity as a writer more seriously.
4. Take Classes
If your school offers creative writing classes, make sure you take advantage of them! Your talent will flourish and you'll prove that you take your art seriously enough to study it.
5. Be Vulnerable
Don’t let pride get in the way of your success. Let other people who you know are skilled writers edit your stories for you. Whether that’s an anonymous writer online, a parent, sibling, or friend you’ll benefit from having a second pair of eyes look at your work. Afterward, your writing will look more polished and put-together so that those who read it will take it more seriously.
6. Put Yourself out There
The most effective way to get taken more seriously also happens to be the scariest. I encourage young writers to put themselves out there and try to get published. You will get rejected—often. But don't let that discourage you, because that doesn't mean your writing is bad! It just means that you're a real writer now, because if there's anything Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Rowling all share in common with you, it's rejection. So don't worry, you're in good company. Keep putting yourself out there and eventually everyone will know you mean business!
7. Take Workshops
Another commonality among the writing community is that writers are constantly refining their skills. Reading and writing definitely help you improve, but attending workshops will take you to the next level. Not only will you learn new tips, you'll also demonstrate that you are seriously devoted to your craft!
You shouldn't let self-doubt or the doubt of others hinder you from achieving your dreams. I hope that after following these tips, your friends and family support you more than ever before! Do any of you seasoned writers have more tips for young writers who want to be taken more seriously?