Wednesday, August 7, 2013

IWSG---I'm A Minor


This is my first post for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.  From Mr. Cavanaugh's blog: "Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"  Today I will be venting my insecurities in being a minor (recently turned 16) in this industry.

Google, which is normally extremely helpful, does very little to help me research contract laws.  I understand that in the U.S. contracts are not binding to minors, but most sites don't go into detail in how to get around that.  I haven't sold a story yet, but when I do I'm most likely going to have to query and see how I should go about having my parents co-sign/sign/whatever the process is.  At that point I believe they have the right to simply reject my work if they want to.  That's a stressful dilemma.  

Also in being a minor, I'm very keen on withholding information about myself, which I assume distances people from my blog.  If you really wanted to, I guess you could deduce certain information from Google Analytics.  This community appears safe enough, yet I'm not willing to take any unnecessary risks.  For a while I didn't even admit on my blog that I was a minor.

It's easy to not take young writers seriously.  I hardly take my fellow young writers seriously sometimes.  There's just something there, a lack of professional air or inexperience that makes me take everything with a grain of salt until they've proven that they are competent writers.  If I, as a 16-year-old, do this to my peers, how do adults regard my blog when they learn how young I am?

Well, that's about all I have.  Any advice/questions/similar feelings/whatever you feel like mentioning?

24 comments:

  1. the only advice i can give you is: don't give up. and don't let your youth be a reason to give up.

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    1. Thanks. I never actually considered giving up writing.

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  2. Hey Patrick, nice to meet you. I have never given another bloggers or authors age a minute of thought. If your're good/entertaining/fun, I'll read you. No matter what age I think you're right to withhold certain information (you won't find a picture of me anywhere attached to my blog - well at least not a recent one), you just never know.

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    1. Nice to meet you as well. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. I think the best thing you can do is to not worry what your audience thinks. Too often when we're young (and even as we get older) we get caught up in trying to please them. Write for yourself. If you write for yourself and what your passionate about, people will take THAT seriously.

    Good luck and welcome to IWSG!

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    1. I don't have that sort of attitude for it. I don't write for myself, I write to try to get published, but I still try to stick to my guns, keeping my style and picking my markets rather than catering to specific markets.

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  4. age ain't nothin' but a number :)

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    1. Tell that to contract laws. :p But yeah, I getcha.

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  5. Never thought about contract laws and what that would mean to a minor. Being a former teacher, I know teenagers write some amazing stuff. There may be some in the industry who would hold your age against you but your talent will prove itself.

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  6. Hi Welcome to IWSG. In my experience people who write just to get published are in for a rough one unless they go into technical writing or essay/magazine fields. I think every writer HOPES to get published. We all want that external validation, but it's not going to happen for everyone and that's a reality.

    You are young, and it sounds like you have ambition and tenacity which are great traits, but with time I hope you'll reach a point where your goal is be a better writer will trump just being a published one. Because being published does not give the warm glow of validation that most writers crave. It just means that someone thought they could sell your story and that's not an indicator of talent. There are some truly terrible published books out there. I have been in writing groups over the years with lots of people who desperately want to be published more than they want to be good at what they do and I think they are doing themselves a disservice.

    I hope I'm not being condescending, that is not my intent. I was a writer at your age and all I wanted was my name on the cover of a book too. I have been where you are and my life became a lot easier when I realized that learning to be a better writer is much more rewarding than trying to be a published one and usually one helps beget the other. But that is just my experience. I can't speak for anyone else.

    Good luck to you and if publication is what you want, I hope it's exactly what you want it to be.

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    1. You misunderstood (or perhaps I misspoke). I look at writing as a career, not as a hobby. I still strive to get better. I'm not like some writers who write just to please themselves and don't care what others think of their writing. Although that's not entirely true. I find writing 2nd-person horror very enjoyable. However, I write very little of it because it's so unusual very few people read it. I find 3rd-narrative to be both easy and fun to write (at least to write passably), but I write mostly 3rd-limited because it's regarded as the most respectable and easiest-to-sell POV in many non-YA markets. Do you see what I mean?

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  7. Hi Patrick,
    I am co-hosting the ISWG today and just wanted to welcome you to the group. Don't have any advice except to say I take all writers seriously, even ones who are minors. I have a friend who is 15 (I'm 64) and she's a very gifted writer. I hear you that you see this as a career and I wish you the best of luck as you move forward on this incredible journey.

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    1. Thanks. More specifically, I expect editing to be my main career, which involves writing quite heavily, and I'd like to make extra money writing my own works.

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  8. First off, that is awesome that you are writing and I wish had that drive when I was younger. Keep doing what you love and things will work out. And your age doesn't have anything to do with whether or not people will take you seriously. Your passion is what matters. I write and review books on my blog. I know several book bloggers that are younger and so passionate. I trust their reviews over others sometimes because of their honesty and the following they generate tells me I'm not alone. Being cautious is admirable, but don't worry whether or not people will take you seriously. If they don't, it's their loss.

    Meredith
    Meredith’s Musings

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  9. Writers of any age must be taken with a grain of salt until they prove they're professional and dedicated. And writing as a teenager can -- can -- produce work that is more spontaneous and fresh than work written with more caution. Let creativity soar and happy writing.

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  10. My advice to any writer (of any age) is focus on the task at hand: writing. Write. Write. Write. Then: revise. Then: find a couple of great critique partners to rip apart your writing. And then: revise again. When you've polished your project, then write a query - and repeat the steps above for the query. If you spend time now worrying about contracts, you'll waste time you could have been writing.

    Have fun and enjoy the journey. :) Nice to meet you.

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    1. I write short fiction, so contracts are a much more frequent ordeal, but I get your point. Nice to meet you as well.

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  11. I judge a writer by their work, not their age. I can't help you with the legal stuff (I didn't start writing fiction till my 40s), but I second the advice above. Study the craft. Enter contests if you can, for feedback and awards. Prove yourself. By the time you do that, the age thing might not be an issue anymore.

    Another thing to consider is that authors tend to earn more the more books they have published. You might actually be ahead of the game (think: hanging back, then leapfrogging over others) if you get several manuscripts polished and ready to go and save querying or publishing for when you're of age. In the end, the profits might be the same or better than if you'd started publishing as a minor.

    Great post! Welcome to the group. :)
    August co-host and IWSG #110

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  12. I guess until you are of legal age, your parents will have to sign for you.
    Someone above mentioned short stories and that's probably a good place to begin. Write a lot of them and then try submitting. (My friend Milo James Fowler at the blog In Media Res sells about twenty to twenty-five a year.) Age doesn't matter - putting in the work does. You have a head start - focus on your future now.
    And welcome to the IWSG!

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    1. I've been doing so. Thanks for the welcome.

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