1. Siberith
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    Siberith Member

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    21st century =/= Writing.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Siberith, Apr 3, 2011.

    Title maybe a little stereotypical but you know the point. A lot of kids, including myself at some points hate or doesn't get into writing very much.

    I for one, like to write, but I hardly ever do it. If I get ideas I usally think of it more than I actually write it down.

    Besides, as a 15 year old like myself, I get very distracted from technology, sports, and friends/social life. :p
     
  2. Cheshare
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    Cheshare New Member

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    I dont think this is true honestly.

    While its true that kids and teens of this age have been reading a lot less according to statistics (or at least the ones Ive seen) but I think most of it is just being done online and not in the public eye as much.

    I see fan fictions booming and self publishing being the way to go for most writers, I dont think the youth of today are any more put off from writing as other generations.

    One of the factors I think though is writing because you have to and because you want to. If I have to read a book for school I almost undoubtedly hate said book, but if I read it on my own time first I LOVE IT. It's similar with writing, if I have to write something for my schools I generally try to go procrastinate and I develop a loathing for the pen and paper, but when I'm not forced to it regains that fun again.

    and yeah distractions always exist, me and the internet means loads of hours wasted, but eventually we make our way back to our work (after we run out of shiny new things to look at and we get bored again or struck with some fabulous idea)
     
  3. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I was 15 I wrote a lot, all the time.

    We had internet and other distractions too... and the former was still pretty much a novelty.

    If you are serious about writing you will find the right time for it. :)
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was 33 before I started to write stories. I guess it is whenever the bug hits you. Storytelling began before writing and will always be with us whether inside peoples heads, in the form of video games, films etc
     
  5. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    Yes, when I was distracted when I was fifteen but I want to see my story that was filling in my head, I want to see what it will come. So I set my self a target and I always got that into it that I would ignored everything but I would take a day for me to have a break but if that day, I am in a writing mood, I would go on.
    I hope you find away to get into writing:)
     
  6. Toldd
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    Toldd New Member

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    For me there are two types of writing. When i was in school i HATED writing and after school i wrote a 270 page book within 2-3 months. I like being able to write what "I" want to write and at the pace "I" want to write it. I don't like being told what to write and given a time line
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's sad, but true that probably not as many kids today even think of being writers, since their world is more a visual/spoken one, than based on written words...

    in the past, people didn't have movies or video whatevers, so all learning and entertainment came from written words, with just a bit from 'performed' plays and such... so all who wanted to share their ideas/stories/etc. had to be writers of books and other print venues... today, with electronics taking over everything, it's only a natural evolution that writing would be less important and losing its ubiquitous nature to electronic mediums...
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many cultures have a rich oral tradition and it wasn't necessary to be able to write not that long ago illiteracy was fairly normal.

    Look at the rich tradition amongst slaves, or Bothy Ballads here in the North of Scotland. Oral telling of stories and setting them to music is older than the written word and been a much more used tradition.
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    What was the question of this thread? :redface: Maybe im just tired (it's 1am) but I didn't see any... :rolleyes:
     
  10. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I don't think a lot of people realize this, but 100 years ago, a large majority of the literate population probably didn't like writing, either. 100 years ago, people were also distracted by friends and other forms of recreation and work and other parts of life. Same goes more or less for 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, and 5000 years ago. So don't worry, I don't think there's much to fret about. You still have a long, long life ahead of you, most likely.
     
  11. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    Theres only so many hours in a day, and its easy to be overwhelmed with obligations and distractions, but stay committed, set aside an hour or two to write each day and habit will take over. Its easier to write than not write at that point! And cbrxkkan has a very good point, there has been and always will be distractions and interferences!
     
  12. Siberith
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    Siberith Member

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    I emean, I want to write, but those inspirations come very little because I have HS basketball to deal with almost everyday, having fun and hanging out with my friends, and other schoolwork.
     
  13. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Exactly. Statistically, 'kids these days' are writing and reading more than ever, it's just often new, digital literacies that we old fogies like to pretend don't count.

    And people talk about how everyone is so busy these days... because, you know, back in the day when you worked on your farm all the time to survive everyone was just lounging around, relaxing, wishing they had the internet because they never had anything to do, right?

    The pace of life may be faster in a quantifiable way, but the amount of free time and how busy kids are is actually not even comparable in how much more free time kids have these days. In part, because I'm sorry, but getting to play basketball instead of killing squirrels for dinner IS free time, in a sense, lol.

    And kids get distracted from writing by the internet and tv... well, that beats being distraction from writing by the fact you were illiterate and pulled out of school at 9 years old to start working and helping provide for your family, eh?

    And yes, people just LOVE to write now days... have you SEEN all the fanfiction sites (ugh, and don't get me started, lol).
     
  14. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    And this is in no way a bad thing. Writing is not above visual mediums, and visual mediums do not take precedence over the written arts.

    I do graphic/web design for a living, and I have as big a passion for the written word as ever.

    Some people just like visual and written. No reason to ensconce yourself in false dichotomies.
     
  15. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even if people 'write' on the internet and suchlike, I'm pretty sure they read less. Also, the books in schools are incredibly less challenging than the books we read when I was a child.

    And people really do have a shorter attention span nowadays. Over 25 yrs of teaching, my experience indicates that students have whittled it down to about 3 minutes before they need a new focus. Before, they could keep going for at least 20 mins. This doesn't really have good implications for scholarship or 'deep' writing, imo.
     
  16. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    People today are overrall much more educated and literate than a century ago, maybe even a few decades....But writing is certainly dying out and reading skill are suffering, at least in the US where education is always getting under-funded. I used to point out the horrible spelling in emails and text-phone subculture, but it's more than that.

    I don't actually blame the kids, I would blame anyone who doesn't take education more seriously and foster a desire to read or write.
     
  17. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    I believe these are your experiences, but I also believe the vast amount of research that doesn't support what you're saying. Hindsight is 20-20, rose colored glasses, etc. Personal accounts are often the least accurate and most error prone of any data/information gathering methods and techniques.

    Just like when I was a kid my grandma used to complain that kids these days were just so much more rambunctious than in her day. Though this may have been true during some eras of famine, in general, kids aren't actually more energetic, it's just that people age, forget how things really were, get slower, and the world seems increasingly faster.

    It's also funny how quick parents are to make claims at their kids' short attention span, instead of taking the time to consider what is actually at the root of their perceptions. But they don't have time to think, so give a short span of attention to concluding it's the entire world around them that has changed, not them.

    No offense, as it happens to all of us and comes with many amazing things like wisdom and [selective] perspective... but perhaps you're just getting old? I know I am. Just the other day I was cursing some punk kids who were shouting and making a ton of racket skateboarding and my first thought was 'darn punk kids' and then I remember the years I spent doing exactly the same with skateboarding and realized how many people I was sure to have been annoying.

    There's also interesting theories into how society doesn't actually decay because kids are any worse, but that parents simply perceive and expect decay, and thus in an indirect way encourage it. People do this all the time in just about everything that is researchable. We have our beliefs, and then shape perception or even alter reality, whether directly or indirection, in a way that then conforms to our beliefs.

    I'm not saying there aren't issues in society and that generations don't have unique, changing challenges, more that ALL generations have challenges, and when one actually studies the trends, it becomes an eerie sort of echo. You know, like how the internet is rotting the minds of our youth and corrupting their morals, and before that it was video games, and before that it was tv, and before that it was movies, and before that it was fiction (yes, at one point in history fiction was considered immoral tripe), and before that it was probably dancing or soccer or skipping stones or something else that seems ridiculous now, but that the older generation swore was the devil. And if we believe all these things were actually rotting the minds of youth and corrupting their morals, wouldn't we be in complete anarchy and decay at this point (instead of just partially so, like always, heh).
     
  18. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    This is the common thing people say who haven't actually researched the issue in depth. No offense, as it's somewhat true and definitely easy to believe.

    The truth is, literacy is CHANGING, not dying out. Especially with digital literacies. And if you don't think there is such thing as digital literacies, get that old teacher one year from retirement who hasn't changed their lesson plan in 30 years on the internet to do some basic research, and just see how quickly they seem to be illiterate.

    Again, it's not that kids are less literate, it's that younger generations, as has always happened, are adapting and learning NEW literacies far faster than the older generations can keep up with.

    What people are actually saying when they say kids don't read as much, or don't have as good of reading skills, is that they simply don't value what the kids are reading as much as what was valued 'back in my day.'

    The alarming thing is that in many ways, like income gaps, there is worse education gaps than ever. Educated people are more educated, and uneducated people are becoming increasingly less educated. Of course, this also depends on one's definition of 'educated' as that changes as well. Take your average kid today and in many instances they'll seem like a genius compared to even the average adult from 100 years ago (or even 50, I would argue).

    It's perception that rules the talking points and opinions, and unfortunately often also dictates many policies, but that doesn't mean actual research into these areas doesn't exist.
     
  19. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Libraries can still fill book events for children - put on a Harry Potter and Gruffalo evening and you are swamped. These children with short attention spans read Order of the Phoenix and I generally only hear adults whinge it is too long.

    Children's books today are as challenging and interesting as they were in the 50s/60s - I read the books my Mum read and my own, now read books to my children. Cows in Action, Spy Dog, Fairy House, the new books about Beasts can't remember the exact title, there are lots of others I have read recently. They are as good as anything I read - easily as good as Enid Blyton, Elinor Brent Dyer, Pamela Brown, Richmal Crompton, Judy Blume etc

    For older children there is Lian Hearne, Alex Sanchez, Jacqueline Wilson. YA books if anything sell better than books for grown ups telling me kids read.

    Children don't often get a love of reading from school that is something nurtured at home and parents still read their children to sleep at night etc
     
  20. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't deny (it would be pretty pointless!) that I'm from a previous generation, although I'm only 53 (but I did go to old-fashioned schools abroad, and then a very strict boarding school which I guess influences my opinions).

    However, I stand by what I say about reading. The books children read in school today are less challenging--FACT, not opinion. At least in the UK. There was even a report out recently saying this very thing. Most of the stuff in my old school books is waaay harder than the content of books my brother's daughters use (for every subject, geography, history, maths, Latin, you name it). I find the school books in England for e.g. 9yr olds very infantile compared to the books Turkish children have to tackle, although there is more learning by rote here, as in many eastern countries. It's pretty obvious that exams are dumbed down nowadays. But I digress.

    Another point--before TV, kids would sit listening--and concentrating--on a radio play, or listen to a story being read out loud, with no flash visuals to help them. It's all a matter of training what the mind can achieve. The present generation of young people are unquestionably not expected to concentrate for long periods of time.

    HOWEVER--this doesn't mean to say that kids can't remain rapt for hours on end when it pleases them, or that they can't grasp some concepts faster than my generation did.

    I do love the opportunities the internet brings, especially as an expat. I'm aware that I read books less--as I said, people read less nowadays--but part of the time I'm reading stuff on the net, and when I read, it's 'good' reading so, like young people, I don't miss out too much maybe. But all the same, I think I'm happy I grew up surrounded by books with no internet to distract me!

    I get on very well with my students and my house is filled with teenagers every weekend, so I have no problem with the way 'the youth of today' behaves. Oh, another FACT regarding behaviour--when I was a child, we really were trained to be quieter and more respectful in class. We never uttered a word in lessons, hard as this may be for young people to believe, not in the schools I went to, anyway. I'm not saying this was necessarily a good thing, but it certainly must have made our teacher's life easier, and I guess we got more done in lessons.

    I certainly don't think kids today have less capacity for understanding--but I do think a lower level is expected of them educationally, and this saddens me. Young people have it bad sometimes as far as quality teaching goes, that's for sure, but it's not their fault.
     
  21. barnz
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    I started writing during my work - i watched the desk at a gym for upwards of six hours a couple times a week and there's never anything worthwhile on the internet. Try and set aside some time like that, do you have any study halls during the school day? I ran track and cross country so i know how burnt out athletes feel after getting home from a long day of school and sports. Maybe getting up half an hour early and writing before going to school?
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't agree at all the chief reason my children are home educated is the amount of work heaped on children in the UK these days - I happen to think hours of homework for a primary school child is ridiculous. Children are required to sit quieter earlier than my generation was - most of us went to playschool a couple of days a week. We all started education much later - most of childrens peers start at 2 or 3. And yes I have left a playschool when she was sent home with homework (only reading a book but we didn't like the book so we didn't do the 'review').

    My son at four goes to assembly and is expected to sit quietly at storytime etc. (he attends nursery for two hours a day three times a week). Children are fed constant education and in a lot of ways over educated too early no wonder they switch off.

    My children don't get any formal education - I don't sit down and do 'lessons' with them. They seem to be able to match the various standards although their learning can be a bit haphazard - my daughter will write a word like fabulous and then ask me how to spell but :) My children have never been forced or even encouraged to read they just see it as normal.

    The big trouble these days is too much homework preventing parents from sitting down and reading with their children - which child wants to read for fun, after an hour of homework at the age of nine.

    I don't know what is being read in schools but certainly the books being taken out of the libraries in my local area are as challenging as anything I read as a child.
     
  23. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    @ Elgaisma: Just as an example, I started school at 5, the normal age for compulsory schooling. I never attended nursery school, I was taught to read at home when I was 3. I attended primary school from 09.00-15.00 Monday-Friday after the first month. There was no 'phased in' reception class in those days, and I was 'bumped up' 2 classes, so I was always much younger than everyone else in my class (which I hated). Right from the first year, I was given homework, and I still have the books to prove it!

    My brother's and cousins' children (I have 3 nieces and 14 cousins with large families!), on the other hand, have very little homework. I've often been in England during the school year since Turkish holidays are different, and I've also seen what kids in my sister's school do--she's a teacher in a grammar school in Berkshire. My uncle, also, until retiring about 6 yrs ago, was headmaster of a school in Cumbria. In Turkey kids have hours, yes, at least 2 hours of homework to get through every evening from the age of 6 onwards.

    Believe me, kids in the UK truly are very underwhelmed with homework and formal teaching compared to many other countries. On the other hand, there is a massive amount of creativity and talent coming out of the country, so it can't all be a bad thing.

    There is a difference in the books kids read for pleasure and the books set as texts for school which I probably didn't make clear. Sorry to use a personal example again, but one of the set texts for my 'O' Level, which I did when I was 13, was Richard II. I may be wrong, but I've heard that Shakespeare is often not studied in depth any more at whatever the equivalent to this is nowadays. I agree that some of the books we read in the sixties were not particulary challenging, though. I never read Enid Blyton beyond Noddy at the age of 3, so I can't comment on her.

    Edit: Taking off the teacher's hat, and speaking as a mother, I actually prefer it (or should I say preferred, since they are nearly grown now) if my kids have a few evenings free a week to chill, play, socialise, do hobbies etc, and I made a lot of time for outings and reading time together. It wasn't too hard to do--although one teacher told me I was 'ruining my children's chances' by refusing to send them for extra coaching at the weekend (they won scholarships regardless of my 'playing with fire'). It's important to make time for outside activities as well as school.
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think schools have anything to do with why children do or don't read for pleasure though. Beyond maybe putting them off with ridiculous homework amounts (given my age group I get the comments on my facebook account from around the country about what the little darlings are doing - both from parents and teachers (have about 80 of them due to where I went to uni). Children now can begin something approaching formal education as young as three (much more formalised than I ever would have been at that age. My son's is more formal than I am happy with).

    My brother and I had the same parenting and schools - I have read thousands of books he has read maybe two. My best friend is a librarian his brother has read about two lol Some people like to read and some don't think that has always been the case. My older two brothers have a similar dynamic one reads the other doesn't. There is a similar dynamic in my Gran's family (educated between 1910 and the 30s) - my Gran read sometimes, Uncle James didn't, Aunty Lily didn't, Aunty Emy and Edna consumed books, Uncle Teddy read occasionally but not very often. I don't get the impression my Grandfather read a lot but he was Liverpool's top pupil five years running (1914-19) and a genius with algebra, music etc He loved the theatre so got his visual stories that way I guess. Start going back much further in my family history and not all of them could write so guessing they couldn't read either. Like a previous poster said food on the table was a priority - they could still tell stories though, my family has a celtic oral tradition and I still tell my children stories my family started in the 1800s each generation twists it just a little (it is a family tradition). I don't know many of the older generations here who are happy with their grandchildren's education not because of lack of rigidity but because there is too much and they are not getting the chance to be children. My parents are both considerably older than your good self :) They didn't get beyond learning spelling etc unless they fell behind - even my Aunty at a private school.

    The books that children these days can and do read are no better or worse in their mix than was available to children in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s - because of the age of my family I have read the children's books of all those eras I miss out the 90s but have started again in the 00s. In fact could be argued children today have a much richer heritage they can read everything from Robinson Crusoe to Cows in Action.

    Most of the kids I know read and possibly read more than my peers did. I attended a fairly middle class school with pushy parents and it was split into those that read and those that didn't. Children today also do listen to the radio there is a Cbeebies section on Radio 7 and children often phone in to Radio 2.

    As I said my children have had minimal formal education and it certainly isn't holding them back any - I don't know many way behind unschooled children either - most of them do read and consume books of all description.
     
  25. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Trying to focus again on the point at issue! I think it's important to actually do a lot of reading and writing (not just 'think about' these skills).

    But writing shouldn't be a chore, you shouldn't feel you have to drag yourself away from your leisure activities to read and write. I remember reading/writing/drawing until my eyes were dropping out of my head when I was a teenager. It should be one of the fun things that you love doing.

    As you say, there are many 'distractions'--but sports and social life are important, too. To write well it helps if you have broad interests and connect with people. Just make sure that you find some time for reading that challenges and develops your language (maybe by tackling difficult texts with a teacher's help), and try to write regularly about things that interest you.

    Don't feel guilty if you take time off occasionally. Life is there to be lived and enjoyed, especially at 15.
     

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