Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Stigma of Being a Writer in High School.

Alright so it isn't so much a stigma as it is a stereotype I automatically get cast into by my lovely immature peers. A lot of people look at me and immediately think that I'm the teen who hangs around coffee shops with alternative music, black clothes and a somber expression waiting to get up on stage and read my poem about a scuff in the middle of my hardwood floor, and how sucky life is. Because yes they believe I, in fact I think they assume most writers, have the emotional rang of a teaspoon. And that rang only has one setting: emo.

Now I am taking it on good faith that all you lovely readers are aware that is not true, in the slightest sense. We all know that what qualifies someone as a writer can be a three sentence fan-fiction that rocks your world, to a twenty seven book series chronically the life of a fruit fly. Because to be a writer, you have to pick up a pen and let your mind wander to wherever you please.

The reactions I receive when politely attempting to dispel the stereotype they have cast upon me vary, from the rare "Oh me too!" to the "Wow, what do you write like Twilight Fan-Fic or something? Because that isn't writing." (See people suck. Or at least people who don't really know you.) And once I explain it to them most people are just like, "yep okay whatever don't really care..." anyways, so some days it is just not worth it.

So as a high school writer I tend to keep to myself about my life's passion, unless someone else brings it up or asks and then I feel free to share.

I am lucky. I can say this a thousand times over and I fear still most people just wont understand. My parents have never been anything less than supportive when it comes to my writing. Granted that does not make them the best analysts or anything but it makes them the best cheerleaders ever. Never once have they told me they don't have faith in my writing. They talk about it to their friends like they're proud. My siblings get introduced based on what sports they play or which dance they love, I am introduced as the writer. They have no shame in it, and because of that I never have either.

My siblings are just as great if not better, they are the ones I can always count on to be brutally honest and tell me when what I'm writing is shit. And I know, unless we are fighting, they say it because they care. They have gone with me to Writers Club at school, even though they could care less about it. They get me copies of writing magazines on my birthday, they pick out cute journals they think I will love.

My family is my writing rock.

However, my family is not the norm. My best friend Kathryn is an amazing writer, but she doesn't see it because her mother has never encouraged it. Despite how much I reassure her a piece is good, and how many times our teachers confirm what I have already said she doubts herself, and that breaks my heart.

I believe every writer will come in contact with at least one person over the course of their life who does not react in the most appropriate or nice way, in regards to their passion. Kids in high school are the best example I can give you of this. Kids in Middle school were even worse. I was made fun of for it, and two of my journals, that I had written my first real "novel" in (though remembering about that I cringe because it sucked) were stolen, and I later learned disposed of because they thought I was weird.

I guess my point is that you can never let the haters get you down. Because lets face it, they are probably jealous you found your calling in life, and that you are not afraid to seize the bull by the horns while dressed in red, while they are. People react differently, sometimes for the better or worse. When they accept you, keep them close those are the people who will be with you through it all, when they don't just let it be. Your writing life and your personal life do not have to intermingle, it would be nice if they could but that isn't always possible. (I can write my novel while I'm working, no matter how much I want to.) Breathe, and move on, it is the best thing you can do for yourself, your ego, and most of all your writer's state of mind.

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing about the experiences of other high school writers. Some of your classmates sound truly horrific! I can't believe people would actually take your work and throw it out...people can be so cruel when confronting things they just don't understand, or want to get to know.

    Most people I've known haven't been too bad...I don't advertise my writing (though most people know I write well after having to listen to me babble in English class), but in middle school a lot of people found out about my novels. I still get emails from old classmates sometimes, asking if they've been published. I had no idea people had remembered, or even taken it a little bit seriously. I hate having to tell them "no, not yet."

    I don't let my family read my writing, though. My mom's a psychologist and I'm a little worried about what she might say after spending sometime inside my head. ;)