WRITE: YA Friday: Dear Teen Writer
Dear Teen Writer,
I get it. I do.
I was there, right where you are. I survived middle school (“junior high,” we called it) by connecting more with books, words, and stories than with the real people around me. I locked my poetry in a journal. Stories hung in the air like ripe fruit on a tree, waiting for me to stretch enough to pluck them. But I never told anyone. Who would understand?
The hidden way—that was easy. Engagement is hard. What if you share your words and people hate them? Or—worse—laugh at you? It’s simpler to talk about other things or to remain, as I did, in your own silent world.
What if you could go somewhere that offered a community of word-artists led by a mentor willing to pour himself out on your behalf? Someone who’s been there, done that, and is still learning? What if you could ponder and plot, crush and create amidst a group of others working the same way for the same purpose? What if you could have guidance for the weaknesses and encouragement for the strengths? What if you could exist for a few days as a small army amidst a larger one? What if you caught a glimpse of the great plans God has for you and your words?
I challenge you to reach out. There’s a place where others gather who value language and story the way you do. There are mentors who have walked your road, faced your challenges, and conquered your obstacles. You already know their language because it resounds through your life. And when you spend time with them, you’ll realize you’ve come home.
I know a place like that. And it’s not too late. The Florida Christian Writer’s Conference March 1- 4 offers a Teen Track taught by author, father, and teacher par excellence Bryan Davis. Come. Spend time with his tribe. They’ll welcome you, challenge you, and surround you with grace. Teens 13-19 get a bargain rate for the Thursday-Sunday noon conference of $450 (more than $300 off the cost for adults). Scholarships may still be available.
Check it all out at www.flwriters.org. Write me with questions and I’ll do my best to help. If this conference doesn’t work for you, I have others to suggest.
But come. Don’t hide. Come.