No Writer's a Geek

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Category: Writing

I remember primary school—a long, long time ago in a school far, far away. What a nightmare. I recall when writing poetry and prose was viewed, at best, as an unusual trait; at worst as a weird and geeky obsession. Is geeky even an adjective? What does it even mean? I have no idea.

But, in the 21st century, young writers should NEVER feel that their writing is a guilty secret—it's a talent, after all. Being labelled a loner or nerd is never a pleasant thing to experience—it can make you sad, depressed, angry. It can even discourage you from pursuing your writing career—and this is heartbreaking in itself. So here's some advice of how to be proud of your writing, and enjoy it too.

Look at the stars

I admit, that was a dramatic subtitle. I don't mean those spheres of fire in space—I mean those writers whose popularity rival that of pop singers. JK Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Ian Rankin—those are the names I can pull from my head at the moment. All of these writers, and many more, love doing their work—and so many people love their work too. And if these writers have fan bases on social media topping thousands, then why do we still believe writing is uncool?

Sidekicks and identicals

Having friends who love creative writing is so important

That could be a very good song title. I'll sleep on it. But seriously, if you don't have friends and family who enjoy creative writing as much as you do, then look around (metaphorically). There are loads of other enthusiasts like you, and you can find them in online groups, poetry festivals, and events run by the Scottish Book Trust such as StoryCon and What's your Story? Having friends who love creative writing is so important—even just having fun chatting about creative stuff can be amazing for your writing. So stop thinking 'Oh, I'm such a loner!' and start thinking instead, 'Where is my twin?'. You'll find one eventually.

Write as much as you want

I once heard the poet Caroline Bird say, 'Write like your pen is on fire!'. To me, that's almost Dumbledorian or Gandalf wisdom—write as much as you want, and enjoy it. Don't stop if you don't want to. Barricade yourself in your bedroom if you have to! Sure, you can get stuck—I was once stuck for six months with my writing—but, if you're enjoying yourself, just keep writing. Even if you think your writing's terrible—just keep it up!

Competitions and prizes

Winning competitions and prizes is not as important as having fun, don't kid yourself. But if you want to challenge yourself, then competitions can be great—they make you write in difficult conditions such as with word-counts, specific genres or writing for deadlines. And if you win a prize, who can scoff at your work and declare it's rubbish? That's not to say that winning a prize makes you superior to all those writers who have not won prizes—keep that head the size it is for now, please!

The most important tip of all

Without reading, a writer is just someone with a pen and notebook

So that's all my advice over, apart from one. Read. Just read, read, read. Read whatever you want, when you want, and how you want; without reading, a writer is just someone with a pen and notebook. And reading will definitely inspire you, and help you find those sidekicks I mentioned earlier. Plus, never forget your readers are kinder than you—you are your harshest critic in general (unless you did not follow my modesty tip earlier, of course)—and, speaking as a reader, books have touched and moved me in ways in which their writers probably didn't expect. Your work can change views, offer inspiration, make people cry/laugh... and even comfort other young people feeling uncertain about continuing with their writing (like you were before you read this blog—I hope that's changed now?).

And so: I'm not allowed to recommend psychological assistance for those people who decided writing was geeky (nor, sadly, life imprisonment), but I think we can all agree it's not geeky at all. Just have fun writing—and don't let stereotypes hold you back!


Like to read more from Andrew? have a look at his blog with five tips for writing plausible and relatable disabled characters.

Image credit Sik-life on Pixabay.

Andrew Pettigrew

Andrew Pettigrew is a sixteen-year-old writer and poet who currently lives in Hamilton, Scotland with his family and two dogs. Losing his sight and hearing before the age of 11, Andrew has since won the Pushkin Prizes, the Seeing Ear Creative Award, and the Foyles Young Poets of the Year Award, as well as having presented his poetry on the Janice Forsyth Radio Show on BBC Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and the StAnza Festival.