There are millions of writers hacking away at this very moment, each seeking to pen a book, screenplay, essay, or poem. Many want to be published, famous, and wealthy, though most will fall short of some or all of these goals. Still, how do we encourage members of the next generation to take to writing and pursue their dreams?
Strong writing skills are something lacking in America today. You’d think with all of the texts, emails, and social media exchanges sent daily that Generation Z would be great at writing. Maybe the opposite is true. Rather than writing anything lengthier than a few emoji-filled, misspelled, unpunctuated missives to mostly friends and family, today’s teen-ager is not challenged to write lengthy, research-based, factual pieces. Instead, they toss around emotions, quips, jokes, and opinions without deep thought or prohibitive insight.
In honor of National Encourage A Young Writer Day, which already came this past April 10th, I’d like to propose that we celebrate it every day – and that schools demand much more from students when it comes to their writing. Parents should play a more active and encouraging role in getting their kids to write more often, better, and with passion.
When I also grew up in the 1980s as a teen, I wrote letters to friends who were away in summer camp. I met strangers through magazines and became pen pals with kids my age. As I got to college, I wrote letters home and letters-to the-editor. I kept a journal, wrote for my campus newspaper, and published a newsletter. But that was me.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a writer, probably ever since I wrote up tons of extra-credit reports in elementary school. I learned early on that there was a reward to offering my stories, thoughts, analysis, and ideas. I liked writing over talking to someone. Afterall, it is easier to prepare your thoughts on paper and to edit them when writing. When we speak, it is all in the spur-of-the-moment, and mistakes get made. Things get said that shouldn’t, and what we wanted to say didn’t get thought of at that moment.
For those who like to write, they will write of their own volition, but it is nice to train kids to be better writers and to encourage them and provide them with the tools they need – journals, books about writing, a library card, tutoring, and showing an interest in their work.
For those where writing does not come naturally or is not top of the mind, encourage them to write – and read more for good readers learn how to write, too. Encourage them to join a writer’s group, especially one of their peers. Encourage them to read a dictionary (improves their vocabulary), the encyclopedia or almanac (inspired by seeing history, stats, and facts), and books on the art of writing and editing.
Kids can be quite imaginative and creative. But we must realize that they need time and opportunity to develop and nurture their raw talent and skills. In the era of mass communication and entertainment, kids are over-exposed to advertisements, opinions, stories, and news. They need quiet time to discover their own voices.
Writing is such a vital skill. We need to write well for school and work. We need to be better in communications with our friends and family. And if we want to commercialize our writing, it will need to be really, really good!
For National Encourage A Young Writer Day, take a kid, whether your own or someone you interact with, and help him or her become a writer. The world can always use a good book!
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.
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