A Heart to Heart: Get Writing, Young Writer

Hey, you, young writer—over here. I gotta tell you something! Here it is: Start now. Start what? Start writing. Seriously. Full of ideas and inspired by a solemn, misty day? Seize that moment and write. Why am I telling you this? Let’s break barriers. I’m a twenty-something. I’m in that category of folk who are increasingly being criticized for this and that. They say my generation is lazy, selfish, and unmotivated. The truth is that I and my fellow twenty-somethings are as busy as we can be. And this is the case for most people who dive into adulthood. And this will be your fate. Cue ominous music. If you’re not already on a team or knee-deep in hobbies or shouldering some responsibility, you will be—you’ll find your free time dissolving, and you might have no say about it.

If you yearn to write, if you’re euphoric when the keyboard clatters into the yawning night, if you’re incensed by a still pen and unmarked paper—then I urge you to keep on. Don’t idealize this, don’t pretend that you love to write, and that you’ll get to it eventually, in some unavailable, idyllic moment. It won’t come. Look beyond your distractions—which you know, if you are honest with yourself, intimately. The social lasso of Instagram and Facebook, the mindless binge of late-night gaming, the hours-long snare of Netflix; you might be trapped there, but you need to know that you’re pushing your darling away. You won’t have time to write years on, especially if you don’t start now. Shelve the craft and you’ll seldom find it among the other things that gripped you in your teens. There is a lot more to you and to your schedule when you hit your twenties.

So start now. You want to be a writer? Then you need a good habit. Arguably, if you’re not yet toiling full-time or prowling for caffeine in post-secondary, you’ve probably got a lot of free time on your hands and infinite prospects to squander that time on. If you think I’ve over-stepped, and I really don’t know what I’m talking about, give me the benefit of the doubt: Recognize that you may just not value every minute—heck, even every hour—that passes you by. Be honest with yourself; you could be putting some time towards your writing every day. Maybe you don’t know much about writing. I’ll tell you just what nearly every brilliant author would say—make no mistake, I’m no brilliant author, but you know what you’d expect them to say: Read a book once in a while and sit down and write—no excuses, sitting optional.

My advice to you is to form a solid habit around your passion. If writing is massively daunting to you, but you absolutely need it in your life like a liver and lungs, then get right specific! Find what you love in writing; find the genres that you adore reading and the authors that make you wince, in a good way. Know where you belong on the endless spectrum of the craft—what genre and style flow naturally to you. Ask yourself: What is it that would keep me up at night scribbling ‘til sunrise? Look, I’m not trying to parent you—I’m giving it to you straight. The worst thought to cling to, again, is that you’ve got a million years to get writing. And twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, if teenagers are heeding this advice and churning out a steady word count, what’s your excuse? You’re always going to be busy, but you know your writing is worth it. Squeeze it in. Hey, someone has to give you some tough love, because your cat sure isn’t going to. Get to it. Why are you still reading this? Go, write!

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