A little over a week ago, I had a reader contact me, she has a teen daughter that wants to be a writer. Most of you are aware by now that I am a firm believer the world needs more books, which means the world needs more writers. And that I don’t consider writing a competition (except during NaNo and that’s more a competition between myself and my novel than between writers). I also love nurturing creativity in youngsters.
I even went digging for a sheet I had been given by an English teacher in 1995 that discussed how to plan a novel. In the end I sent her a ton of information and some worksheets and some suggestions like letting her try NaNo Jr at some point and the writing software I use since it is now freeware.
I did all this because I was very excited. Here was a mom contacting me because her daughter wanted to write and she was encouraging it! Growing up, my parents were supportive of my writing. Neither of my parents told me I was wasting my time or that I was chasing a pipe dream. They didn’t tell me I couldn’t do it. They didn’t give me restrictions on what I could write or how often or for how long. If I wanted to sit at the kitchen table for six hours and write a handful of short stories on a Saturday when we had nothing going on, I could sit at the table and write for as long as I wanted, only moving my stuff off when we ate a meal.
This is not the case for everyone. In high school, I made friends with a girl that wanted to be a writer. And she had some talent. But her parents were not supportive. They even went so far as to point out to her the Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft didn’t make enough money to live on from their writings while they were alive. All the monetary value in their stories came after they were dead. They told her she couldn’t do it, she was a girl and girls don’t write as well as boys. They ridiculed her for it. They told her to find a career that made money and stop living with her head in the clouds.
And she gave up and she found something else she wanted to be a guidance Councillor. During college she’d change to early childhood development as her major. But I never once saw her as excited about studying childhood development as she did about writing a story. And last time I spoke with her seven years ago, she didn’t even write as a hobby.
That makes me sad for so many reasons. And it’s why I was so excited when K contacted me to get some advice for her daughter. Since I predominately write serial killer horror, I don’t get contacted by a lot of moms, because my books aren’t exactly kid friendly.
But the few that have contacted me have always made me very happy. Not because they contacted me exactly, but because it means they are willing to help their youngster learn to write and encourage it. And that makes me want to do everything I can to help them. I want new brand new writers to show up in ten years or seven years or thirty years.
We need to encourage the next generations to be creative or else the arts will die.