When you were 16, what stage were you at as a writer?

Discussion in 'General Writing' started by labelab, Oct 26, 2019.

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  1. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master Contributor

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    At sixteen, hmm. Man it's been a while and I'm so bad at being able to tell what year was which.

    I belieeeeve at least around that time was my first attempt at Nano, which I won. It was 50k words of overexcited, juvenile babblings. Nothing worth going back to edit, but I look back at that time with fondness. I finally tapped into a real sense of excitement, that I think I've only just recently started to recapture. (Again, in a nano. Also because I've given up on trying to be any kind of planner and just going whole-hog in the pantser style.)
     
  2. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    You couldn't even get me to write my name on the pre-SAT when I was 16. I only started writing this year, at 26.
     
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  3. Earp

    Earp Copy That Contributor

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    Book reports and the annual 'term paper'.
     
  4. Xoic

    Xoic Senior Member

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    It was somewhere around 16 when my writing took a definite upturn in quality. As far as I can determine, I first started when I met my friend @ age 9, in 4th grade, and we started immediately writing stories about ourselves as sort-of superheroes. I still have the original; one long run-on sentence linked with dozens of 'and's. @ about 16 I started on a new series, about us as sort-of superheroes defending our town from all manner of creatures that suddenly popped up out of nowhere. It was actually somewhat like Buffy the Vampire Slayer long before that show existed, except that we were boys. I remember I began writing it at the onset of winter because I liked the feel of the crisp chill air and it inspired me, so my stories began to feature weather and atmosphere.

    The next big spike in quality came in my mid 20's which is when the brain finally reaches full growth and the final parts, the frontal lobes and cerebral cortex (the smart parts that make us fully human) finish growing in. Looking at both my writing and drawing from various periods I can see when that happened.
     
  5. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    That is a painful and funny and painfully funny question. I was preparing for a competitive exam to enter into an engineering college. I was trapped. Even if a thought had crossed my mind about becoming a writer, I'd have considered it seriously. But such prison I was in mentally. Much of my writing is somehow addressed to that condition I was in. Is that limited? Is that limiting?
     
  6. Bowie_the_Birb

    Bowie_the_Birb Member

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    Not 16 just yet, so I can't say!
    Right now I have about a dozen things I've started. In my writing class we got to write a short fiction story, so I utilized a story that I had already started. It has the world's most cringe-worthy ending, but it's still one of the only works I've ever finished! This actually happened twice, the first time was in 6th grade and the ending was better than the most recent work, but lucky me, it got deleted.
     
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  7. Alastair Woodcock

    Alastair Woodcock Member

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    At 13, I'd written the book 'The Incredible Story of Oswald Rovers and their bid to win the FA Cup'

    By 16, I'd still only written that one book. I was about to write a short story about Yosser Hughes and a guillemot.
     
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  8. BK Bell

    BK Bell New Member

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    God, I had probably written half a million words by that point. Maybe a slight overestimate, but probably honestly an underestimate between notebooks and written stories. I recently went through my old hard drive from high school and I had hundreds and hundreds of pages of writing, snippets of stories, characters. I had started part of the novel I'm trying to finish now, at the very least the characters were alive. I had hundreds of pages of stories and novels I hadn't finished, and had plotted out a few entire novels that I'm thinking of revisiting (mostly YA). I think around 16 is when I wrote a short story I entered in a competition and it won an award. I feel like my mechanics were pretty good and I could draw someone in but I didn't know how to finish something long form. I was fortunate to get an early start in reading and have access to writing materials and books. I taught myself to read at 4 years old, and started writing at 5 because we had this old windows computer in my room passed down from my grandma. I wrote for hours on that thing, just fun little stories. I think writing and reading was my coping mechanism for life lol.
     
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  9. Siena

    Siena Senior Member

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    Absolutely nowhere. You have time.
     
  10. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Active Member

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    when I was 16 I was all talent and no training. I didn't start taking writing seriously until after I turned 30.
     
  11. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Senior Member

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    Still struggling with there, their, and they're.
     
  12. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    I was a weekly columnist at the local small town newspaper, writing the new from my high school. Did a feature length report on the field trip to Osaka Japan for Expo '70.

    I really wanted to write fiction but couldn't figure out what to write about. I wrote enormous amounts of poetry about heartbreak and unrequited love. A year later I was welcomed into the arms of an older woman and quit that kind of writing.

    Now exactly 50 years later I'm going back to my memory and writing stories about things I did as a kid before I was 16 and also about the wild and wacky characters who were my father's friends.
     
  13. Fiender_

    Fiender_ Active Member

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    By 16, I had written a handful of short stories (but they were all connected by the same characters so... probably more of an episodic novel?), and the quality was certainly not great. Around this time, I was trying to balance my writing and my amateur game design, unsure which (if either) would lead to a successful career.

    It might not have been when I was 16 exactly but around that point, I tried to query one of my earlier works, without many revisions done or... really any passion put into it. Didn't get far. ;P
     
  14. Vaughan Quincey

    Vaughan Quincey Member

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    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
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  15. VictoriaPrincess

    VictoriaPrincess Member

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    When I was sixteen... wow that was actually seven years ago for me! I feel so old now :cry:

    My writing wasn't very good when I was sixteen. I don't think it's anything to celebrate now either but I have improved for definite. When I was sixteen I was writing Harry Potter spin offs, books I could never publish of course but I felt like this gave me a lot of experience as it allowed me to invent new ideas and characters as well. Back then I only wrote less than a thousand words a day whereas recently I've been doing well more than five thousand - now working on a proper book series which I'm hoping to get published.

    At sixteen I think I was literally just writing very short scenes and messing around with other people's ideas and adding this and that to them. Whereas now I actually come up and write my own stories, characters and ideas.

    I feel I've really evolved as a writer now. I do it nearly every day and feel that with each day there's improvements which is awesome.
     
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  16. Fervidor

    Fervidor Active Member

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    Oh, terrible. But also in complete denial of that. I pretty much thought I was a genius destined for fame and fortune.

    That's was good thing, of course, because it gave me the motivation to keep writing.

    (These days I'm far more skilled and experienced. Otherwise, nothing much has changed.)
     
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  17. Xoic

    Xoic Senior Member

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    ^ It sounds like you've crossed the Dunning/Kruger line.
     
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  18. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Hatred. I hated it! From early youth, I would rather have chewed my leg off than write. That and ADHD submarined my education and I dropped college in frustration. A true tragedy, because I loved to read, obsessively.
    Well past 50, with technology caught up, I was overwhelmed with a story to write from a nightmare that plagued me for years. Now I am obsessed with it, and at 4 to 7 wpm, I grind away, like a man with broken legs dragging himself over nails and glass, to the oasis.
     
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  19. ThunderAngel

    ThunderAngel Contributor Contributor

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    For someone who writes at 4 to 7 wpm, you are certainly prolific, and highly imaginative. :)
     
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  20. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Insanity bears fruit, apparently. :D
     
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  21. GuytFromWayBack

    GuytFromWayBack New Member

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    I wasn't lol.

    I remember when we had a creative writing assignment in English when I was around that age. I aced it just by writing a story I found funny. I didn't even think I'd done anything special, but the head of English pulled me out of my lesson to tell me how much she enjoyed it.

    You'd think that would have been a sign lol, but I literally didn't even think about writing anything else until I was 22 and decided I was going to accomplish something.
    In the 3 years since then, I've written nearly 600k words, and every day I'm kicking myself for wasting those 6/7 extra years I could have had.
     
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  22. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    16? Writing? Absolutely nowhere.

    June born, so I turned 16 a couple of weeks before I graduated from highschool, then went on to work two summer jobs July and Aug, then in Sep, it was fulltime student (immunology and research medicine, and psychology) working two part time jobs (waiting tables friday/sat night, lifeguarding sat/sun daytime) and training 20 hours a week swimming on the university team.

    Writing has always been that thing I'll do when I retire.
     
  23. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    A well known writer was at a cocktail party. He got to talking to someone and of course the subject of careers came up. The other person was a doctor. When the writer told him what he did the doctor said he was going to take up writing when he retired.

    "And I'm going to take up medicine when I retire," the writer replied.
     
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  24. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    The version I heard it was Margaret Atwood, on a plane, with a surgeon.

    Thing is... I've reinvented my career three times so far, I'm not underestimating the effort required, the ten thousand hours, and all that. I am 5 years into a 10 year runway for career pivot to writer, just like when I switched from genetics to commerce in my 20s. Only with this one, I want the financial stability that represents the 2023 version of "a room of her own." Retirement from my current corporate drone job *is* part of my writing career plan.

    If anything, my self assessment as somebody who is starting with no skills, having insight into the career pathing required, hopefully is a sign that I'm on a credible path.

    Some of us are late bloomers, please don't dismiss the possibility out of hand like the fictional cocktail party writer did.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
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  25. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Looking forward to see what you've got.
     

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