While participating in workshops, panel discussions, book signings and Christmas craft fairs this year, I’ve noticed something really quite wonderful. Teenagers and young adults are writing! In August, I was selling my books at a farmer’s market that was celebrating literacy that day. Across from my table, a nineteen-year-old woman had written and beautifully illustrated two fantasy novels for teens. She loved writing and hoped to continue to do so for some time to come. She was working over the summer to pay for university which she would start in the fall.
This month, I signed a book for a customer whose teenaged daughter loved reading and writing. A recent social event, I met our host’s seventeen-year-old daughter who is writing a fantasy series with her mother. How cool is that? When I mentioned that it was great to hear that she was more interested in reading and writing than video games, she told me that her friends also wrote. Given all we hear in the media about distracted kids with their eyes glued to an endless supply of games and movies, this was an eye opener. Another friend has a twenty-two-year-old son in university who’s been writing screenplays and working on movie productions since high school.
Recently, I was at a Christmas craft fair and approached by a woman who’s part of a group who mentors teenage writers. She asked me if I might consider speaking to the group. While packing up at the end of the day, a girl who looked about twelve or thirteen came up to me and said that she was working on two fantasy novels right now. We talked about the importance of reading, and she thought it was cool I was an author. Yeah, it is. Sometimes I forget that. But it’s even cooler to know that the next generation is reading and writing. Not one of those young people mentioned anything about income or making it big financially. At this stage of their lives it was all about learning and the joy of creating something on the page. They deserve all the support and encouragement we can give them.