Today Cyn Balog joins us with an inspiring guest blog
First, I want to thank Jill for having me as a guest on her blog. I thought a bit about what my guest post would be about, and lately I’ve been thinking about how many young adult novels are written by people, like me, who are not young adults (ok, so I’m not hobbling about on a cane, but you get the idea). Why is that? Of course there are a few exceptions, but why is it that the group of people who is most uniquely qualified to write about this age group is not heavily represented in the vast pool of published young adult authors?
I can speak from my experience, since I finished my first novel when I was 14. I guess you can say I always knew I wanted to be a novelist. But I had no clue where to turn to get it published. I didn’t have a mentor, and though teachers would say, “You should try to get this published!” that was the end of that; I had no idea where to learn more about the process. The internet didn’t exist back then, and the only help I had was a very outdated copy of The Writer’s Market, given to me by an uncle. At the time, YA wasn’t really a “thing”, either, unless you counted Sweet Valley High. So I just assumed that I was too young and decided to invest my energy into getting into a good college, like all my friends were doing.
I now consider that to be a mistake. Because here’s the thing: You are NEVER too young to find your passion.
Despite what you may be told, your talent does not follow the same growth-curve that your age does. I’ve met some incredibly smart 13-year-olds, as well as some fifty-year olds who don’t know a thing. I’ve read books by teens that would smash to pieces anything written by adults. And the great thing about the internet-age is that if you are concerned about age discrimination (which I know does happen) you don’t have to reveal your age to an agent until after they sign you. Just do your research, learn how to be professional, and give it a shot. Most agents wouldn’t turn down a brilliant manuscript just because it was written by a 13-year old. And I know that there is a lot of brilliance among that age group. And I’m not just talking about young writers, either. There is brilliance all over, everywhere.
If I could go back to my younger self, and if I could say anything to the youth of the world, it is: Do not let your age hold you back. If you want something bad enough, start working for it today. Don’t listen when people tell you that you are too young. Don’t assume that you’ll be more knowledgeable when you are older, or that you’ll be better equipped to chase your desires. Sure, you very well may be, but by then you may be saddled with kids to raise, bills to pay, and a whole host of responsibilities that make following your dreams difficult, if not impossible.
So why are you still reading this?
Follow your passion. Do it now. If you love it enough, no matter who you are, you can make your dreams come true.
Thanks for being here Ms. Balog!