April 9, 2022

 Encouragement for Young Writers  

8 min read

April 10th is National Encourage a Young Writer Day–a few Hidden Shelf authors offer encouragement and advice to aspiring writers: 


First, write, write, write. Keep a journal. Write thoughts and feelings. Write small descriptions. You would be surprised at how the muscle-memory of writing keeps events fresh in your mind for years! You’ll be using those impressions and descriptions all your writing life.

If you’re serious about writing, be serious about learning grammar. Do it now, while your youth makes it easier to learn. If you’re not getting this knowledge at school, take online courses. Seriously. I am a member of several online writers’ forums, and it is heartbreaking to see people with good ideas and much effort, working hard, and producing CRAP because they haven’t bothered to learn how our language works. Respect the art and craft of writing. English is a tool. Learn to use it with exquisite precision, and you’ll be rewarded with the gift of effortless writing—your writing will not be inhibited, shackled, muddied, and tangled by misuse of that tool.

When writing verse, free or rhyming, pay attention to the cadences of the words.

-Dana Stewart Quinney, Wildflower Girl 


Honor the story you want to tell, it matters. Your story doesn’t have to resonate with everyone, but it still matters . Take criticism with a pinch of salt. Don’t be discouraged- but also make sure you make time for your writing, and constantly work on improving your craft. 

-Sana Balagamwala, House Number 12 Block Number 3


Write. Write. Write some more. The more you write, the more practice you have. Then take these immediate steps:
1.  Take classes from an instructor who helps you navigate genres and then where you read your work to other writers who give feedback.
2.  Go to writing conferences and take classes with people in the business and build relationships.
3.  Establish yourself on a social media platform with something you love to do and can interact with others about it. The more people you can claim as potential book buyers, the better looking you are to potential publishing houses.
4.  Join a writers group with writers who are better tennis players than you are. By that I mean — it’s hard to improve your tennis skills if you never get a volley going. You need writers who improve your game. Just one or two for your group. Meet weekly online or in person. Schedule when to send manuscripts and how many pages. Read it before the next meeting and be ready to deliver and receive feedback.
5.  Build a website even if it doesn’t have a lot on it at first. People need a way to find you.
6.  Take notes on interesting people, stages, places, sayings, anecdotes, incidents. They will appear in your novels or blogs.

-Ann Marie Stewart, Out of the Water 

Your story is your story. No one can tell your story better than you! Trust yourself.

-Dr. Brian C. Johnson, Send Judah First 



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