Please welcome today’s teen author, Tessa Hall and be her fan!
Tessa Emily Hall’s Purple Moon, a Young Adult Christian novel will be published September 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also the editor for the faith department at Temperance Magazine, a column writer for Whole Magazine, a contributing writer for More To Be, as well as the PR for God of Moses Entertainment.
Other than writing, Tessa enjoys acting, music, Starbucks, and her Teacup Shih Tzu—who is named Brewer after a character in her book, as well as her love for coffee.
Why Teen Writers Shouldn’t Wait to Pursue Publication
There are some adults who don’t think teenagers should pursue publication. If I had listened to the two authors who discouraged me from publishing my novel, I wouldn’t have gotten my book published at nineteen-years-old.
Last week, I was featured in an article for my newspaper. The article talked about how I am only 19-years-old, received my publishing contract when I was 16, and how I hope to continue writing books for the rest of my life. One person (who was a Christian, by the way) commented on the online version of the article, saying that he/she didn’t understand the “wisdom” behind pursuing publication early. They also assumed that I wasn’t going to college—since the article didn’t mention that—and suggested that schooling should be my first priority, and then publishing a book.
If I had responded to that person, I would’ve told him/her that I am going to college, and that people can seek publication at any age. In fact, there are several advantages to pursuing publication at an early age.
I’ve always been a bit different from others my age; I’ve never exactly been the type to follow the crowd. And it’s been my dream, ever since I was in preschool, to become an author. When I reached high school, I decided to homeschool the first three years so I could write and study the craft of writing. And I am very glad I did.
Two other people—both well-known authors—also advised me not to pursue publication. One of them said to wait until I reached my late twenties, and the other suggested not to pursue writing at all since it is such hard work.
Here are the reasons why I do not agree with them:
- While I do understand that a person’s writing isn’t going to be completely developed as a teenager, this is true for everyone at any age. Every writer should continue growing in their writing, no matter how old they are. Publication should be based on a person’s writing talent and experience, not their age.
- Everyone’s path is different. God has a different plan for everyone, and His plan for someone might include them getting a book published as a teen. People shouldn’t try to interfere with what could be God’s plan for someone. (Unless, of course, they’re your parents. In that case, you have to respect and obey their wishes, no matter what. )
- Teens have first-hand experience of today’s teen culture, not the teen culture as it was 10 or 20 years ago.
- Teenagers are currently trying to decide the course of their life. If they wait to pursue publication until after they’ve graduated from college, then they might settle for another career and bury their writing dreams. There is no better time than the teen years to try out different career options and see which career path they should take.
- A degree isn’t necessary to become an author. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t attend college (unless it just isn’t God’s will for you). I’m saying that I was published without a degree, and so were the majority of authors today. (However, it is recommended that authors have another side job, since writing books doesn’t exactly pay the bills.)
- I came across a scripture when I was 15 that really encouraged me to start pursue writing. And that was Ecclesiastes 11:9, which states, “You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. Follow the impulses of your heart. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.”
- For many adults, it takes years to finally see their name in print. There is a lot that goes into writing and publishing a book. Even if you decide to wait until you’re in your 20’s to pursue publication, I highly recommend getting a head start. Trust me, you’ll be doing your future self a huge favor.
- Teens have the power to make a difference in their youth culture. My main purpose in writing Christian fiction isn’t to preach, but to touch lives, and to show God’s unconditional love and transforming grace. Just recently, I had a twelve-year-old reader send me a handwritten letter, thanking me for writing Purple Moon and telling me that she has accepted Christ as her Savior. There have been several other people tell me that they could relate to my main character and that the story really spoke to them. If I had waited until later to pursue publication, then Purple Moon wouldn’t exist, and that twelve-year-old girl probably wouldn’t be saved like she is today.
Of course, I’m not saying that every teen writer should pursue publication. It is completely fine if you decide to spend these years preparing for your publication journey rather than pursuing it. But if God has placed it on your heart to begin early, then ignore those discouraging voices, and go for it. Besides, why wait when you can begin now?
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Has anyone ever discouraged you from pursuing writing early? What are some reasons you think people are against teens pursuing publication? What are some other advantages of being a teen author?
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