5 Tips All Teen Writers Need to Know

Student Life

Rather than being a place where students decide their futures, high school is a time and place where teens should feel free to explore all of their interests, even if they are extremely different. Writing is one of my many passions, and with all else that keeps me busy after school, finding time to pursue this particular passion seems difficult and almost impossible. But, with these tips in mind, finding time to not only evolve your writing skills and unique voice, but understand your relationship with writing, should be a breeze.

1. Write At Every Chance You Get

Whether you scribble down fictional stories in the car on the way to school or report for your school's newspaper, setting aside time in your day to write is the key to growing your love for writing. Writing about anything for enjoyment will benefit your skills as a writer more than you may think. Often, I love writing a short story in a journal before bed. Not only is writing a relaxing activity, but I actively spend time thinking about and executing my writing. Rather than focusing on perfecting your style, simply write more and let your thoughts translate into words.

The idea that you always have to be writing to someone or a target audience is flawed. You can and you should write for yourself. Though writing for a specific publication like a school newspaper is a great way to communicate your thoughts and ideas to others, writing for yourself and only yourself is an essential way to explore your passion.

2. Don't Be Afraid To Get Your Writing Out To Others

Aside from writing for yourself or a school publication, going beyond and writing for other magazines or journals online is a great way to branch out as a writer. Having others read your work can feel frightening at first, but over time, you will come to understand the power of outsider opinions. You can find plenty of publications to submit your work online. The hardest step of all, however, is gathering the courage to submit your work to potentially be published. Once you overcome this step, you will come to appreciate and love publishing your work.

3. Criticism Is Not The Enemy

I can say with certainty that taking criticism well is the hardest part of being a teen writer. Though accepting criticism is difficult at first, it is a critical part of being a writer, especially if you wish to continue with it in the future. Whether you receive feedback from your teacher or peers or your work gets rejected from an online publication, overcoming criticism is necessary to becoming a strong writer. Rather than viewing criticism as harsh and personal, take the feedback of others as an opportunity to improve your work and skills. Remember, you can still be a talented writer and receive criticism or feedback from others. In other words, criticism is not an indicator that your skills are lacking. But, rather, criticism allows you to understand the skills you can enhance.

4. Write About What You're Passionate About

When I first began writing, I found myself gravitating towards journalistic articles. Though I still write creative pieces such as fiction, I acknowledge that journalism is what I am most passionate about. Recognizing what type of writing I enjoy most allows me to put the limited time I have during my day towards writing pieces that resonate most with me.

While creating a niche for yourself is helpful and important, it is also perfectly fine to be uncertain about what types of writing you are most passionate about. You may love to write both news-based articles and fiction pieces, or you may find the need to write all types of articles to find your so-called niche.

5. Don't Forget To Read

Reading is key to developing your style of writing. More often than not, writers gain inspiration from their favorite authors and writers. Prioritizing reading as well as writing is essential to improving your skills. Reading to grow as a writer can look different to everyone. While I enjoy reading articles from daily newspapers online, someone else may enjoy reading poetry or fiction books.

If you ever find yourself in a rut where you lack the motivation to continue writing, turning to the writers you aspire to be like is important to regaining excitement about your work.

Above all else, try your best to keep in mind that you are still starting out as a writer. There is time to refine your voice or style. There is time to find what topics you enjoy writing most about. There is time to develop the skills that you feel are lacking. Rather than becoming overwhelmed with frustration and disappointment as a result of never being able to achieve the standards you set for yourself, congratulate yourself on the work you are doing now that is pushing you to become the best writer you can be.

Sophene Avedissian
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Sophene Avedissian is a sophomore at Westridge School for Girls. She writes for her school newspaper, Spyglass, the Los Angeles Times High School Insider, and the Youth Civics Initiative. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and spending time with family and friends.