What Being A Teen Writer Was Like

I used to think being a teen writer was the best thing ever. I remember feeling a desire to be one forever. How delusional of me, huh?

While I love writing and hope to write for the rest of my life, I’m looking forward to being an adult writer.

After all, I spent most of my time as a teenager telling stories.

I started writing when I was about thirteen or fourteen, right around my early teens.

I’ve been writing for the past six or so years. Time flies.

I still can’t believe I turned twenty today.

Being a teen is tough enough as it is. I’d argue being a teen writer is even tougher.

Not only are you finding yourself and figuring out who you are as a human, you’re also doing the same as a writer.

I’ve learned a little every time I faced the blank page.

I wrote stories and poems last year. I’m currently transcribing them. Even with my critical eye, I can see my gradual improvement. I’m constantly taken aback by how far I’ve come in just a few months, much less several years.

I’ll miss the opportunities afforded to teen writers. I’m not eligible for a lot of things now that I’m officially twenty.

Even though I got into writing earlier than most, I wish I had applied to more contests and competitions for teens.

Still, it’s been a great journey. I’m quite happy, pleased even with where I am right now.

Overall, I accomplished more than I thought I would as a teenager.

I’m not too sure what’s next for me. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, which is the one thing that both excites and terrifies me about being a young writer.

I hope being a grown up adult will be everything I hope for. Am I being greedy? Is that too much to ask for?

Fortunately, I’ve had these past four summer months to reflect on my past and contemplate my future.

I want nothing more than to keep telling stories and writing words. I invite you to do the same, regardless of whether you’re a teen writer or a seasoned veteran.

Age is just a number anyway.

This Or That: Writing Edition


Just a fun game of this or that with a writing twist because why not.

Pen or pencil?

I used to be a pencil kind of gal when I was a kid, but now I'm old. I don't make mistakes that I need to erase. I don't get ink stains on anything. There are so many reasons why I love pens, I could write a blog post on it.

Spiral or non-spiral bound notebooks?

As much as I love the look of journals without spirals, they aren't as practical for me. I can hold a spiral notebook in one hand easier. Or maybe I just don't have any arm strength.

Write in the morning or at night?

Nighttime. I tend to read and edit in the earlier hours of the day. But when the sun sets, my muse suddenly wants to come out to play. So much for sleeping eight hours every night.

Work inside or outside?

I like not having to leave my house. I can stay in my pyjamas. I don't have to do my hair or makeup. I'm lazy. That's not news.

Music or silence?

When I'm handwriting, silence. When I'm typing, music. If I had to choose just one, I'd probably play songs in the background at a soft volume.

Write a little every day or a lot every so often?

A little every day. That's what I'm currently doing because it works best for me. I like writing enough to do it even when I don't feel like pulling words from my brain and putting them onto the page.

Short stories or long novels?

I tend to write short stories and read long novels. Perhaps novellas are my true love.

Lined paper or blank paper?

Lined all the way. I'll take lines on paper over dotted, graph, etc.

Characters or plot?

The former obviously. Characters make or break a novel for me.

Which choices would you pick?

How To Make Writing (More) Fun

Admit it, writing isn't always fun and easy. Unless you aren't human in which case maybe you beg to differ.

Sometimes you just have to make putting pen on paper more enjoyable.

This is what I recommend:

Play music.

I like typing with noise in the background more than silence. So it's a no brainer for me. I almost always play some of my favourite tunes while smashing keys on the computer.

Reward yourself.

Schedule something fun to do like hanging out with friends or going to the beach. That way, you have an incentive to write and work while still making time to play. Win win.

Change location.

If you're bored and stuck, try moving to a coffee shop you haven't been to or a library on the other side of town. If that isn't feasible, go to another room in your house you don't typically write in. It might be enough to get your creative juices flowing again.

Set challenges.

Maybe because I'm a competitive person by nature, I tend to perform better when I feel challenged by something or even someone. Which brings me to my next point…

Find writers.

Look for individuals who motivate and inspire you. Seek them out. There are wonderful human beings on this planet who want to help you and see you succeed. Never let those ones go. Besides, writing with others is an experience every writer needs to experience.

Take breaks.

I don't care who you are, writing is not fun when you're burnt out. Working for hours at a time over an extended period of time isn't the best idea then. So rest and relax. Don't you dare guilt trip yourself for not writing every second of every day. You're human after all.

Edit later.

Writing is fun until editing comes along and ruins the creative party. Buzzkill, much? Revisions can wait. Fun does not.

That's all the suggestions I have for making writing more fun. Let me know what you do down in the comments below.

Happy writing and having fun!

Plan Your Perfect Author Panel

Not long ago, I watched an author panel about genre blending. It got me thinking how awesome it’d be if I could gather all my favourite authors in the same room and listen to them talk about writing.

Here’s how I imagine my perfect panel:

Who would be there?

Pierce Brown, Stephen King, Sarah J. Maas, and Jodi Picoult. They’re my favourite storytellers as of right now.

Why these authors in particular?

In general, I love all of their work.

I enjoyed Brown’s Red Rising series, even though it shattered my already broken heart. So now I’m eagerly awaiting Iron Gold. In fact, IG is the first book I ever preordered. Also, Brown was in the genre blending panel, and his comments were spot on. The video is on YouTube for anyone interested.

King is king. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. This won’t be the last time, my friends. For some reason, I have this irrational fear I won’t like one of his novels. He still continues to surpass any and all expectations of mine. Carrie has a special place in my heart. The film adaption was not as good as the book but it wasn’t bad either.

I didn’t think I would like Throne of Glass by Maas as much as I did. The hype surrounding the books almost made me pass on it. I’m glad I didn’t.

Fortunately, I found and fell in love with House Rules. Then I proceeded to read all the Picoult novels I could get my hands on. Nineteen Minutes and The Pact stand out in my memory still to this day.

What will the panel be about?

To start, I’d want them to talk about their writing journey.

I even have questions prepared. When did you start writing? What made you become a writer? Why do you write? What’s a typical day in your life like? Where do you work? How do you write? What’s the easiest thing about your job? What is the hardest?

I’m a curious writer myself, so I like listening to other writers share their life stories.

Of course, if I could only ask one question, I’d have them answer this: what’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers?

Where would the panel take place? 

I wish more book events and conferences were held in the wonderful country of Canada. As much as I love the United States and hope to visit the United Kingdom one day, I can’t book a plane ticket without losing an arm or a leg. Probably both.

So, for obvious reasons, I’d want the panel to be held at a location near me. That way I could actually attend and keep all my limbs. In my dreams, I want to go to a Canadian book conference. Preferably downtown Toronto in a large building with awesome views of the skyline. Bonus points if it’s close to a hotel for those flying in from other countries with their two arms and legs.

When would the panel take place?

A weekend in the summer would be ideal. Or during autumn when the temperature is cool but not chilly. Then again, the panel will be inside an air conditioned room. But I’m all for having fun events take place outdoors. Beggars can’t be choosers, but planners can be picky, right?

Who should moderate?

I’m not sure. Perhaps another writer. Maybe an agent or an editor. I don’t have anyone specific in mind.

I want to hear all about your dream author panel. Let me know in a comment down below or create your own blog post and get carried away like me. I won’t judge.

Thanks to Eventbrite for inspiring this post. They are a self-service ticketing platform that helps people find and plan events like book conferences or author panels.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

20 Reasons Why I Write

In honour of turning two decades old later this month, here are twenty reasons why I'm still a writer.

  1. I love writing with all my hollow heart.
  2. I'm not horrible with words.
  3. I am terrible with numbers.
  4. Stories have changed my life for better or worse.
  5. I'll face the blank page over boredom any day of the year.
  6. Being published is better than not being published.
  7. Real people aren't as cool as fictional ones.
  8. Every day is an emotional roller coaster I'm never ready for.
  9. Other writers keep me from going insane.
  10. Therapy is expensive.
  11. I can write alone, by myself, on my own.
  12. I've learned more from writing books than reading textbooks.
  13. It's fun to inflict pain on fictional characters.
  14. I enjoy the suffering of others.
  15. I can relive experiences as many times as I want.
  16. Writing provides me some much needed perspective.
  17. I don't want to talk to people.
  18. People interrupt me on the rare occasion I do open my mouth to say something.
  19. Writing makes me happier than anything else in this world.

Why do you write?

Face Your Fears As A Writer

I like to think I am more fearless while writing as opposed to when I'm not. What a surprise.

I wouldn't compare myself to a chicken because I'm worse.

In real life, I hold myself back from doing things because I'm scared. And I wonder if my fears also faze me in creative pursuits such as blogging.

I know I can take bigger risks and push the envelope more so to speak. But I don't.

Is it because I'm terrified of the unknown? Am I afraid to depart from what I'm used to and do something different?

Yes. And yes.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm only taking small baby steps. It's still better than not taking any, never moving forward.

What gets me is the fact that at one point in my life writing was risky.

I didn't always write. I wasn't good at it. Even though I had no idea what my future held, I figured writing wouldn't work out for me.

So many years ago, I took a risk one day by picking up a pen and putting words on the page.

Now all I want is to create better content, tell greater stories. Tough to do so if I'm scared of failing or rejection.

Maybe your definition of risk is different from mine. That's fine.

But isn't it insane to imagine how the things you do now were a risk or a fear five years ago? That what you consider risky now might be totally safe, even routine a month from now?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is our fears change. Our definition of risk does too. Almost everything and everyone changes. Don't be afraid of change. Embrace it.

After all, you can live your whole live letting fear hold you back or you can show fear what you're made of.

Here's to conquering our fears. Face the page and take risks. You have more to gain than you have to lose.

Life is a journey, after all. Might as well enjoy where you are right now.

Doing more, doing better happens gradually. You don't make leaps and bounds in progress overnight. But every time you face your fear, you're improving yourself.

It's okay to be afraid. But it's not okay to let your biggest fear hold you back.

I don't have an easy solution. The best we can do as writers and human beings is to confront what's holding us back from reaching our full potential.

Dig deep. Find the strength you need to overcome your greatest insecurities.

Realize there's no feat quite like facing your demons and coming out victorious.

I raise my glass of water to all of you. Keep taking risks. Remember you're better than you fears.

Spewing Bad Writing Advice

I spew plenty of advice all the time, especially when it comes to writing.

So here goes nothing.

The first sentence of your story should make readers want to read the second. So on and so forth.

Try to establish a conflict or some kind of tension as early as possible. If you can do so in the first paragraph, fantastic. If the conflict arises on page one hundred and ninety-nine, you may want to revisit everything before it.

What's necessary? What isn't?

Clean up your messes. It's fine to info dump everything in your head on the page the first time around, but take care of them when you come back to edit.

If you listen to nothing else I say, for which I don't blame you, hear me out on this: you are not obligated to follow anyone's writing advice. Listen. Learn. But you are your own writer.

What works for you may not work for someone else. Similarly, what works for others might not work for you. So you should do what works best for your own writing.

Make your reader care. Give them a reason to. Many even.

Dare to say something different. Think about what others are saying and say the complete opposite. Play devil's advocate.

Never neglect any element of storytelling. Create a compelling character or twenty. Throw them into a messy situation with conflict. Advance your story's plot at a good pace. Establish setting, location. Think about themes.

When you're stuck, consider the five senses. What can your protagonist see or hear? How do they feel? Does he or she smell something strange? Don't forget about taste.

Be unpredictable. Do the unexpected. Surprise yourself and subsequently your readers as well.

Take writing one word at a time, one day at a time.

Writing an entire novel or 100,000 words can seem daunting.

But writing 1,000 words or one page every day for a year isn't so bad.

I'm a broken record, aren't I?

On Self-Confidence And Writing

I can't be the only one who has confidence issues, especially when it comes to writing, right?

I wonder if I'd feel more or less confident if I wasn't a writer. I'll never know. The word is practically stamped on my wide forehead, tattooed on my black heart.

Writing every day is challenging to say the least.

I have doubts. It feels like I'm always plagued by them. Go away. Leave me alone. I'm trying to tell stories.

I question whether I'm good enough, if I'll ever be enough.

After all, I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to everything, writing specifically. I make things tougher for myself. Creating is so much harder than it needs to be because of me.

Then again, I feel like a lot of people are the same way.

I don't know what to tell you. I wish I had a simple answer, an easy solution.

The best I can offer is this: keep writing. Keep believing in your dreams and visions. Don't stop writing until they're a reality. When you realize your old dreams, chase new ones.

You're good. You're good enough.

You'll get better.

Start and never stop believing in yourself.

10 Things To Assume About Writers

I know I preach to the choir that one should not assume. But if I know nothing about you except that you’re a writer, I’m going to make an exception.

Here are ten things I associate with writers.

  1. You read. If you’re a writer, you’re a reader. So don’t be surprised if I ask you what you’re currently reading or what novels you’ve enjoyed in the past. Bonding over books is the best type of bonding after all. 
  2. You’re observant. Writers are amazing at observing everything and everyone. Understatement of the year. Maybe you’re secretly a ninja too. As fun as it is to be detail-oriented, that can also drive you insane. Stay sane.
  3. You support other writers. Since you know the struggle better than anyone, why wouldn’t you encourage others who are also struggling.
  4. You have a good grasp of grammar. But I also understand the urge to disregard rules completely. They were made to be broken, right?
  5. You can empathize. You have to put yourself in the shoes of fictional characters all the time. I hope you can do the same with human beings.
  6. You have an online presence. This is especially true if you’re younger. Facebook. Twitter. A blog. A website. At the very least, I’ll be able to stalk you somewhere on the Web. Oh, don’t get me started on the growing pains of social media. I’m getting so old. 
  7. You’re smart. You probably have a wealth of knowledge in that beautiful brain of yours. Care to share?
  8. You like stories. Hearing them and telling them. I hope you have a lot because I’m all ears. Or if you rather listen to mine, I’d be more than willing to bore you to tears.
  9. You’re working on something. Whether it’s a short story or an epic novel, you probably have a work in progress on your plate. Maybe even multiple projects you’re managing at the same time. Multi-tasking is a way of life. 
  10. You write. If all I know about is that you’re a writer, I’m going to suppose more than anything that you write. I’ll likely proceed to wonder what you dabble in. Fiction? Non-fiction? Fantasy? History?

I think it’s relatively safe to assume writers write words.

22 Lessons I Learned About Writing

These are twenty-two things I have learned as a writer. Or I’m still learning. Or I hope to learn.

  1. Start writing.
  2. Believe in your story.
  3. Take it one word at a time.
  4. Hold onto your dreams.
  5. Pursue your passion.
  6. Set small goals.
  7. Never settle for less than your best.
  8. Make the right sacrifices.
  9. Stay true to your vision.
  10. Write for yourself.
  11. Be your own critic.
  12. Be your own cheerleader.
  13. Don’t let the bad days win.
  14. Talk to other writers.
  15. Accept rejection.
  16. Embrace failure.
  17. Find a support system.
  18. Ask for help when needed.
  19. Exercise your brain and body.
  20. Remember why you started.
  21. Forgive yourself.
  22. Finish your stories.

What’s a lesson you’ve learned?