Young Authors

10 April, 2015

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With lots more authors under the age of 20 being published, those of us left behind can often feel the mounting pressure. So how much of a difference does being published at a young age make?

Being 15, every birthday can feel like a step closer to author failure. My teenagerdom is a ticking time bomb. I’m in the process of starting my own manuscript, but it’s as if the pressure is on. Young people being published is an amazing thing, and I am in awe of every single person who has been published at such a young age, but I can’t help but feel a tiny bit inconsequential every time I hear about a new book deal.

That being said, young authors are amazing. Often they have to juggle schoolwork with writing, edits and then promotional stuff afterwards. I hate the phrase “that’s so good! I can’t believe he/she is so young” because young people have exactly the same potential as older people. I find it rather degrading because I’ve read books by young authors that are far better than those written by older writers.

I need to remind myself that there’s no rush. Take your time, figure out who you are as person and how you write, and it will all come naturally. Write because you love it; not because you feel like you have to.

8 Comments

  • Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    10 April, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Don’t worry! I always feel that way when I look at athletes. I mean, they are often younger than I am -I am 20- and playing at world top. Anything seems insignificant compared to that because they earn millions… But there is so much of our lives left ahead of us, you shouldn’t stress yourself out over it! You’re already in the process of starting your own manuscript at 15. That’s quite the accomplishment already.
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  • Tara-Lee

    11 April, 2015 at 1:38 am

    I agree that being young we can want and hope for success to come ASAP but that shouldn`t be the case. I am no longer a teenager but I still have hopes for success and that can be seen in so many different ways. Nothing ever has a specific timeline. I often see friends wanting to graduate, find a job, get married, buy a house, and have kids all before thirty but with a competitive job market it is really hard to do that. I have told myself that there is no specific timeline to get things done, I can work on certain goals and try to complete them on time while others will just have to wait.
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  • Ellie

    11 April, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with this! I was very lucky to have had a novel accepted for publication when I was 19, but I turned down the offer as the publishers turned out to be the wrong fit. A lot of people are surprised by this, but as you say: there is plenty of time to publish my book! I’m in no rush to publish the story, I’m more concerned about getting the story right! Even if it would have been a nice addition to my CV! 😉

  • Leila Rasheed

    13 April, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I really should be working but I just had to say I know how you feel! I remember feeling exactly the same when I was 17 – that I really was supposed to have achieved *something* by the time I was 15 and since I hadn’t, I was probably bound for the scrap heap 🙂 Imagine how I feel now, I’m 38 and still don’t feel successful 😀 although admittedly I’m published (at age 31). Anyway, yes you are right – there is absolutely no rush to get published, and just because you’re published early doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have a more successful career long-term. Also, very young authors are still in a minority, they just get a lot of attention from the media due to their age – so maybe there are less of them around than you think. Best of luck with the writing anyway – try and enjoy it and not worry about publication.

  • Nicola Morgan

    13 April, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I was desperate to be published quickly and I can’t TELL you how glad I am that I wasn’t! I took 21 years to get a novel published and during every one of those years I became better and better at writing and at listening to my writing through a reader’s ear. I think years of practice are really important to growing into something closer to the kind of writer you want to be. I’m not saying every writer needs as long as I took but I am both grateful and proud that I spent that long writing without an audience.

    Good luck – but don’t look at clocks or calendars!

  • Keren David

    13 April, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    I was 44 when I started writing my first book and 46 when it was published. I’m glad I wasn’t published at 15. First, because any book I wrote at 15 wouldn’t have been as good, second because I spent those thirty years living and learning so I knew how to write and I had things to write about. I found plenty to keep me busy along the years, and it was great to find a new career in my forties. Do not judge yourself by what other people do! You are amazing, achieving so much already and you don’t need any more self-inflicted pressure.
    And well done again on an amazing #UKYADAY.

  • McCallum J. Morgan

    18 April, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I definitely wouldn’t worry about getting published immediately. Just relax and write. The writing is the best part anyway. I’m nineteen and my first book got published (by a small indie press) last September. I will say it helps you feel a little more like a ‘real’ author, but then you have to deal with sales depression and marketing etc. I remember being fourteen with my manuscript and hearing about a thirteen-year-old getting published and being disappointed that I wasn’t going beat that. The pressure I felt to get published fast was sort of to prove myself. I wanted people to take my aspirations seriously. And to prove to my college-obsessed grandma that college was not a prerequisite to success. I don’t know if she’s convinced. 🙂 Early publishing certainly does not mean success, so don’t feel pressured. It is kind of nice though 🙂

  • Alex Dewing

    25 April, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I totally agree; it’s so hard to stop comparing yourself to others, in all aspects not just writing. I love writing so much but I just can’t balance that and school and so I feel so bad because I know it isn’t impossible it’s just me. And although you haven’t got a book published I am certain that it’s the writing that’s the most important and enjoyable and whenever you do get published -which I am sure will happen- you;re going to be inundated with support x

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