You are not just one person, but an entity. A giant face made up of many. Let’s call you Teen Writer. I myself am somewhere within you, perhaps an eyelash on your huge shapeless body, but this is not a story about me, it is about you. And you are scared. You are other things (passionate, enthusiastic, determined) but mainly, scared. You are not scared of the words that wiggle out of your mind and settle on the blank page, nor of the clacking of the keys. You are not that skittish.
What are you scared of then? You, the brave adventure, the weaver of words, the creature that creates whole worlds and persons and breathes fire into their hearts. You have been taught that perfection is the only way. You read the books that your favorite authors produce and sigh, thinking, Why can’t I write this well? You watch as older, wiser writers cackle over their childhood stories and wonder how they were ever so bad all the while thinking of your own words and wondering if you will be laughing at them soon, wondering if the story you think is so good is even good at all.
But perhaps what you haven’t been taught, is that the only way to grow is through imperfection and mistakes. Every word, every poem, every novel you produce (whether it be good or not) teaches you something. You might be laughing in the future, and it’s alright to find mirth in your old works, just remember that this one shitty poem or story or novel was a stepping stone that brought you across the river, to where you are standing now.
It’s hard. You will cry and scream and rage and press backspace more times than you can count, you will want to quit and there will be days when you will slam your laptop shut in frustration. You will write something you love, then read it the very next day and cringe. That fear you carry is real, borne by every single writer that you are made of. There is no way to banish it. Sure, it will subside but it always comes back in many different forms. You will grow, but your fears will grow with you. But so will your abilities, your strengths and your stories.
Forgive yourself your failings. Give yourself room to grow.
I’ve long wanted to experiment with second person. But I didn’t know what to write, that is, until I had an idea to write about the insecurities that I often face as a teen writer, insecurities I am sure that any writer (teen or otherwise) deals with. I hope that you enjoyed reading it, and found a kernel of truth lurking somewhere inside. XX