Since today is the first day of summer, I've decided to celebrate by starting a new blog series (exciting, right? I'm excited.) I don't know about the rest of you, but I love reading books on writing...on how to be a better writer, how to be published, even just writing prompts. The thing is, even if the book is written FOR teens, 9/10 times it's written BY an adult. And it's all very well and good to say "I've been there, let me help you..." but talking to other teen writers who are there RIGHT NOW is just so much more encouraging.
I was lucky enough to find a whole community full of teen writers to talk and rant and complain to (!), but I know a lot of people don't have that...so I thought it would be neat to put together a few interviews and just listen to a whole bunch of writers talk about their writing lives. Because it's always good to realize that you're not alone - and I think when you're writing, it's so easy to get lost or figure that you're the only one who has trouble describing things, or who has flat characters, or can't figure out plotlines, or whatever.And you're not alone. So. Without further ado, and all that good stuff...here you go. ☺
is a fifteen-year-old writer who wants to share a piece of lasting beauty with the world through her writing. She has a particular affinity for poetry and works of abstract emotion, but that does not at all detract from her love of stories. Though she hasn’t yet completed a novel, she hopes to someday.
What kind of writing is your favourite (poetry, short stories, novels) and why?
In some ways, I say poetry. In others, I say novels. Poetry speaks to my heart like nothing else can, and I feel like I can understand myself better and perhaps retain that understanding. Novels awaken an adventuring and hopeful spirit in me, that hopes that perhaps someday my life could be a story, or could find meaning like one finds in a story.
Which were you first, a reader or a writer?
A reader, all the way.
What is your favourite genre of book to read? Why?
I really like fantasy and dystopia. The ideas and the planning that go into those kinds of novels intrigues me so much, and after reading a good dystopia novel, I always find myself wishing I’d thought of the idea first. And also relationship novels. Not relationship as in romance novels, but something deeper, a book that would show the essence of a human relationship, and make me say, “Yes, this is what it is like”. ((Example: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.)) It doesn’t have to be about the story, as much as about the characters, for that kind of book.
What do you love about writing?
It’s an escape. It’s a need. It’s something that I have to do to work out what I think about things. I love when I can relax and feel safe and let the words flow out of me, and I don’t have to correct them or halt them, and they’re just there, so comforting and beautiful.
Is there anything about writing that you particularly dislike?
The fact that my inspiration comes in quick, haphazard bursts. I’ll write a few pages that are all incredibly saturated with emotion, and then I’ll lose my inspiration for days, sometimes weeks, and if I try to write when I lack inspiration, I get rather depressed and extremely insecure if what I write is even worth writing about.
Do you often find yourself dealing with the dreaded writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I deal with writer’s block by leaving my writing, for a few days, for a week, for however long it takes for my inspiration to return. I’ll take long walks and watch good movies and think way too much, and eventually, I’ll overcome it. I can’t force myself to push through it too fast; I have to wait it out.
Is it easy or hard to share your work with others?
Extremely hard. It’s my soul on paper – the only people I share my true writings with are my very close friends.
What’s your biggest fear when it comes to your writing?
That I will find I don’t have anything to say. That what I have to say isn’t important to me or others who might read what I write.
Do you have a goal or a purpose that you try to reach when you write? Is there a message that you want your readers to come away with, or some way that you try to encourage them?
I want to touch someone; I want to touch their heart and make them feel the kind of story that I’m trying to paint; I want them to remember the words I write, even if it’s only for a moment; I want to let them see the kind of beauty that I see through pain and sorrow, life and passions; I want to portray the deep sort of happiness I feel when something is sad and lonely, I want to show a smile for what it really means, a moment as if it were already a memory; and I want to somehow touch someone’s life, in however small a way.
Have you ever considered the idea of putting down your pencil for good?
Where is your favourite place to write?
In a quiet place, usually my room. I tend to get inspiration from thinking too much when among nature, and inspiration from my emotions and what I feel when I’m indoors and alone. It’s odd, and my moods differ, but writing definitely is a solitary thing for me, no matter what.
Do you let people read your rough drafts, or only the polished final copy?
I’ve never finished a novel before, but I have crafted a few short stories and many, many poems, and when those are in their rough-draft stage, I only share them with my close friends. Others can only read it when I’m completely and utterly satisfied with it. ((That’s my perfectionist side talking.))
If you had to give a beginning writer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Put your heart on the page, no matter how much it hurts. And it is going to hurt, but it’ll be worth it to see your thoughts and emotions on the paper – it’s so worth it. And never give up. Don’t think that you don’t have the potential or the talent to call yourself a writer, because if you love to write, it doesn’t matter how good other people say your writing is. If it comes from your heart, it’s a part of you, and that is a beautiful thing. Keep writing.
(if you enjoyed this post, be sure to check back next Friday to hear Danielle talk about light bulb moments and her favourite things about writing)