7 Reasons for Teens to Apply for What's Your Story

Megan McLaughlin reading at Nue Reekie Showcase
Category: Writing

So, you're debating whether to apply for What's Your Story? Great! You've achieved the first step by clicking here. I'm Megan – a 16-year-old sci-fi writer and a former Rookie of WYS 2017 – and I'm here to be your friendly neighbourhood Rookie as I take you through seven reasons why you should apply for WYS! (Apart from how incredibly awesome it is!)


The application process is helpful to you as a teen writer/illustrator/whatever you are, you wonderful creator

It's not like a typical application to any old thing

Not only do you feel important to Scottish Book Trust from the way the questions are worded, but it's not like a typical application to any old thing! They have gone above and beyond since the application of 2016 and added a 'non-binary' and an 'other' option for all you genderqueer lovelies, so you get a gender identity boost straight away!

Plus, you don’t have to be an “original” writer or illustrator to get into this program! You might want to create an album, or a podcast, you could even write fanfiction – in which case I know the feeling of having your work criticised because it's based on someone else's world, but these guys aren't like that, they'll encourage your work!

Your confidence will sky-rocket!

You may not feel that confident about your creations right now, or maybe you do! But whatever level of self-love you're at, your application will only increase it as the form asks you about your work and why you love creating it, and that's a really self-affirming thing - I know that personally.

Your thoughts of yourself as a writer will improve

I know - like any other teen creator - that sometimes your work can feel worthless. Whether it's exams or parental pressure, there are things in a teenager's life that make creative activities seem pointless. However, Scottish Book Trust are here to help! This application is tailor-made for teenagers so you'll feel important and needed – like a job in this industry isn't just an end-of-the-rainbow dream.

Working with a mentor is brilliant for your self-worth, confidence and work

They'll listen to you and what your ideas are without trying to change how you think

The 2017 team are jealous of the new teams because you get FIVE DAYS at the Moniack Mhor writing retreat, and that's going to help you with work on your showcase piece (whatever creation that may be!)

Not only will your mentor be skilled in what you want to work on, but they'll listen to you and what your ideas are without trying to change how you think in a negative way - I don’t know about you but a lot of adults have done that to me. Your mentor will help you develop your thoughts and make your piece the best it can be, and give you the feeling that you CAN succeed.

Rookies at NLS
You’ll have adventures exploring behind the scenes of Scottish literacy

How much fun you'll have in the depths of the National Library, and all the wonderful trips Scottish Book Trust take you on. It gives you life experience in the industry and contacts for the future (people who you can continue to work with even when WYS comes to an end).


What's this magical event, you ask? It's the first ever creative convention in Scotland made by teens, for teens, and even if you don’t make it into the What's Your Story team, you should come! With workshops galore and free pizza, it'll be the best weekend of your year.

Meeting your team and the folks at StoryCon

Personally, I've made lifelong friends by being a part of this programme. People who think like me, talk like me, and create like me. I was even lucky enough to find someone who watches the same tv! It's great making friends with other creative people and you realise that there are others, and you aren't alone in your hobby/dream.

If all this sounds good, you wonderful creator, apply to What's Your Story? (you won't regret it)

If it doesn’t sound good, read the article again.


Main image by Kat Gollock

Megan McLaughlin

Megan McLaughlin is a teenage writer from Inverclyde. In 2017 she applied for the What’s Your Story? Teen Writer Development Programme with Scottish Book Trust and was one of seven chosen for the programme. She most recently performed an extract from her sci-fi novel-in-progress at the National Library of Scotland as part of the What’s Your Story? Showcase, and is working hard outside of class to provide creative writing support to fellow students at her school. You can follow Megan at @MHarperTweets