Age-ism: writing seriously at an age when everything is a joke

I’m a teenager, so I am socially allowed to indulge in those ultra-hedonist activities that teenagers engage in. Like taking pictures of myself in the mirror at two in the morning to post to Facebook. And then I’ll comment on the pictures, gradually becoming more and more self-depreciating.

“Lookin’ Hott”: Two t’s because that makes it double true.

“Good”

“I like this. :P”

“Meh”

“Ewww”

“I hate myself”

I also thoroughly enjoy using acronyms like LOL, and sometimes I just make them up to confuse older people. Isn’t that totally KHFBDUFBDHD? Yeah, I know, right? Hilarious… but teenagers deal with these stereotypes. Beyond that, I’m also a writer. Which makes age a huge problem, because no one takes a 17 year old seriously. They think it’s “cute you wrote a book” and suggest I “try to get self-published.” As if that is something you TRY to do??

Not only do people suppose that I text while I drive, but also write very immature drivel. They suppose I write fantasy voraciously, attempting to make the “next Harry Potter or Twilight.” Or that I write long memoirs about my personal problems in high school, being as sappy as possible, though feeling guilty. So then I’ll change all the names and call it “fiction.” But really “Yvonne,” you know who you are. We both know.

So I just don’t mention it. It’s not something people need to know in queries, because it’s not something people expect. Call this my jumping block. Call this my college tuition. Call this whatever, because I intend to start young and I don’t care if you’re sixty years old, I can still write. And no, I don’t want to publish e-books to amazon. No, I’m not writing a grieving, elongated love letter to any of the Jonas Brothers. Don’t encourage me “write a satire of day-to-day life in the classroom.”

Because here’s the truth: nothing happens. Your entire generation smoked and dropped acid and nothing my generation does can top that. No matter how many spitballs we manufacture, contrived nicknames we handle, or childish pranks we pull, our debauchery will never reach the same pinnacle as yours did. So, good job, but don’t think there’s anything to write about. And though there is, I don’t want to write it. You can write it. And I’m sure it will be totes-magotes SDFHDKS!!!! lol!!!!

So what’s a young author to do? Don’t stoop. Be professional. I think that if you write the best novel you can, then you will be published. Age won’t matter. Even if your book is a fiction novel that’s really a memoir that you “made” fiction by changing names and making all of the love interests various supernatural beings, it can be done if the writing is good. Write well. And the rest won’t matter.

Quote of the day (because this might be a fun thing to start): “There is no best way to prepare a human being.”

About derekberry

Derek Berry is a novelist, poet, and student located in Charleston, SC.

Posted on May 22, 2011, in agent, Controversy, Cool Posts, novel, Old People, publishing, Random, Word Salad, writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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