Hello, dear reader, and welcome!
Today, I'd like to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while: writers and age. With the self-publishing boom, there are, I believe, more "young" writers now than ever, and I definitely believe that their age, as far as writing -- not to leave out publishing -- affects them.
I'll admit, as a writer, there is always the strong urge to go back and edit your work...even work that has been published for years now, in my case, and I definitely believe that this urge may be stronger for the budding or young author, who has less experience. Sometimes, especially when you get reviews that are less than satisfactory, it's very hard to ignore this urge, and not go back and edit, or even throw in the towel and quit publishing altogether, or under a certain name. But what do you do when these times arrive, and you want to tear yourself apart for writing something so "awful" -- that isn't actually awful, but not how you would have written it now?
I have found that the best way to keep oneself going is to remember this: we learn along the way.
Life is full of changes, and we are constantly reinventing ourselves. What seems like a good idea today may not seem like such a good idea later on -- a week from now, a year, three years, ten. As we grow, we mature and gain more knowledge, wisdom, and this helps us along our path.
Writing is much the same. Through time and trial, we learn more about grammar, about how to shape our words, about what type of stories we want to tell, and how we want to tell them. We lose sight of our writing at times, maybe lose our love for it, but then we come back to it strong, ready to carry on, continue what we started, or even begin in a new direction. We may want to go back and edit, make it better or stronger or different, but if we do, we are only erasing part of the journey.
I cannot say that how I wrote years ago is how I write now -- I can't even say that how I wrote three months ago is how I write now. I've changed immensely, and so has my writing and view of the world. As a young writer especially, I believe that I have changed a lot since that first book, especially as I began the trek into adulthood, and it can be frustrating to read reviews talking about that first novel and its flaws (there are always flaws, in any book, anyway); but at the end of the day, I have to remind myself that these books are part of my journey, and I should appreciate them because of that.
You should always put your best product out there, even if years later, it might not seem like your best product anymore. I can say from experience that what will be your best today will not necessarily be your best tomorrow, but that is okay. I look at authors I love, people I look up to, and even through their books, you can see a change -- for the better, or for the worst. I think the difficult thing about being a young writer versus, say, a writer in their forties, fifties, or even sixties, is that we have so much less experience...but in a way that is heartening, because we also have so much more room to grow, too.
I read over one of my books, Clara Claus (Christmas!) the other day, and it was almost laughable how different the prose in that book is from what I write now -- and it makes sense, because I didn't know as much then as I know now. I still love the story, because I remember writing it, remember being so, so excited for it, but I can see its flaws, and I can definitely see how, had I written it now, I would have written it much differently. But, as I said, I remember writing that story, and I remember what I learned from it, and I remember how old I was -- 19, not even in my twenties yet, still a budding writer and adult in many ways. I started writing when I was very, very young, completing my first (not so wonderful) book at 12, and at 19, it looked as though I was a writing genius, that I had come so far from that first story -- and I had. But looking back now, I can see how much further I have come from writing Clara Claus, how much more I have learned, and that makes me excited for the future. That makes all of my writing struggles, this year of which there have been many, seem worth it -- because they are worth it.
If you're a young writer, don't fret. Don't worry over publishing your books, over writing them; just do the best that you can right now. We all improve, and we all learn new things, but we are never going to do either if we don't keep writing, and putting ourselves out there. An old book with flaws is nothing to be ashamed of -- it's something to look back at, appreciate, and work your hardest to surpass.
Alexandra's first published novel, Clara Claus, was written in 2009 when she was 19, and first published in 2010. Since then, it has been edited a few times, and gained a new cover, but most of the novel has stayed the same. It was an Amazon bestseller in 2011 and 2012, and its official sequel, Clara Snow, was released this year, in 2013, with more books to come.