Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Signs I'm a YA Writer

At my first writers' conference, my teacher asked us why we wrote for the age of our audience. Many people gave interesting answers that week. My favorite was from another seasoned, published author. She usually writes about 12 to 13-year-olds and for an audience of the same age because, in a way, it's like her looking back and trying to take care of herself then. I wonder if that's why I also write about and for teens. It's definitely got something to do with it. That girl back then needed some taking care of, too. What I do know is I've been observant these past few weeks and found signs that also support why I'm a YA writer. Here are a few.

  1. My wardrobe. I've grown up in some ways, but I still own and wear my leather beret from high school, as well as my U2 Rattle and Hum t-shirt. I finally gave my "Slinky" t-shirt to my teenage daughter. Don't get me wrong; I would've kept it if it still fit.
  2. How I speak. I use "like" more than all my children combined, as well as "lame," "whatever," and even, "hey, girlfriend!" when I speak to my older daughter.
  3. I still love to be spontaneous and sometimes immature. For example, purposefully embarrassing my children. Nothing brings me more pleasure than hearing, "Ughh, Mom!" (But my kids are usually smiling when they do this. A good sign, yes?) Yesterday, my daughter dared me to bop my head around and jam like an idiot while driving with her. She did the same. We were laughing so hard, I was crying.
  4. Music. My tastes have developed a lot, but I still feel that teenager-y deep connection to music, like it defines me, or I seek to find the songs that do. I continue to play the guitar and sing the same folk ballads I did when I was around a campfire with my friends.
  5. My imagination. In high school, I devoted my time to acting on stage, becoming the characters and delving into their backstories and what made them tick. Now I do the same thing, but I create my characters on the page. I bring them to life from scratch. It's still just as exhilarating--even more so!
  6. Discovery of Self. No matter how old I get (I'm 36 now), I still feel that yearning to to know who exactly I am and why I fit or don't fit into this world and why I'm here. It keeps me constantly exploring for more.
  7. Feeling Deeply. I'm pretty sure I'm moodier and more sensitive now than I was as a teen. I cry easier, laugh harder, and feel keenly the pain of others.
I met an almost ninety-year-old woman a couple years ago. She randomly sat next to me at a large event and started chatting away about wanting to read the book I had on my lap. She confessed she loved Twilight and other popular YA books.

When I'm ninety, I want to be that woman.

If you write, what age do you usually write for and why? If you don't write, what age do you think the "inner you" is?