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December 3, 2012


Replies: 177

Why do you think your age matters?

PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Professional Writer
I'm totally frustrated by ageism. As someone who writes for and often interacts with teens, I get to see all the time how smart and insightful teens are. I go to visit high schools and they have the most brilliant questions and observations. And yet here on the forums and in chat, there's a lot of discussion about why age should matter. It goes both ways. I've had people say things like "You're too old to understand my brilliance" or "The older generation is biased because..." I honestly think that, if you're serious about writing -- or any craft -- and you want to learn, age doesn't matter. People are sensitive at all ages. And we all learn in different ways. But why the hell does AGE keep coming up in these discussions?

Here are some recent things I've seen here in the lit forums (paraphrasing):

Young writers don't have the life experience to write well.

I'm a teen, so I shouldn't be held to the same standard.

I'm in my forties, why would I want to read YA?

Teens are too immature to take criticism.

I'm only sixteen, what do you want from me?

I'm thirty, I know more than other people because I'm thirty.

Teens don't understand my writing./Older people don't understand my writing.

Why are you so mean to me, I'm only fourteen!

Your opinion doesn't matter because I'm older than you.

DISCUSS. Why does age matter? Or not matter?

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Devious Comments

ParadigmFallen Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012  Professional Artist
I hate ageism too. It's been a pain, especially at one point as a game writer. Had this 28 year old who made my job a nightmare. And here's the funny thing -- I had more published and better quality material than he did. I told people about his work and gave quotes and they thought it sounded horrible. And yet, he was put in charge of the writing for the game, whilst I was the only employee under him. There was one other guy, but I think he got smart and quit early on. And it sucks, because I loved the game I was working on, but I couldn't put up with so much BS for a volunteer project.
yourdoom243 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Professional Writer
I think that time does equal experience to some degree since people live a long time after 19. Because people live long after 19, usually, there is a massive lack of teenagers authoring the majority of good books on Goodreads. Though this is just a generalization, I don't have a Goodreads account because I think its a Pokemon rip-off. Writing is a pain. You can spend years working on a novel, trying to get it to be exactly what you want it to be, and waste money on expensive coffee. But then you find out you only know English, and you've been living in a Spanish-speaking country, and you have to start all over again while your being threatened to be deported where your novel could sell. Worst of all it would be to people who don't even know what cecina is.
iroNoNiji Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I believe it does matter what "age" one is, not the biological age, that is. That doesn't mean, that age is some kind of border, but more of an inspiration among many. It influences some more, some less, but nobody isn't.
Oh, and it has nothing to do with quality, except that younger writers likely have less experience, as they just haven't had as much time as older ones.
SaraAlaska Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
If you look at it in the publishing world age does not matter at all, there's been eight year olds published but of course their work were children books with only a few sentences.
I'm indeed fourteen and a writer myself, I try hard to make my writing as best as possible and if I get a bad comment I don't whine about it and fuse because that was what I was looking for, people to tell me exactly what they thought about my writing, I wasn't looking for complements I was looking for mistakes and anything I need to keep doing/stop doing.
I hardly ever get feedback on any of my writing, if I'm lucky I'll get one feedback message on it, but lots of reads.
I do hope to be published one day, and I do know for a fact that right now my writing isn't really publishable because I'm so rushed, and I do intend to go back and re-write most of my books for when I'm ready to go up and send my query letters to publishing companys.
I do feel the age thing sometimes, older people sometimes thinks we're not ready for such things and won't read or give feedback that is actually helpful if they see our age sometimes. But really and truley it only matters on how much the writers put in to their writings and how much they love doing it and strife to do better. Not age.
I try to reach out to as much people as I can, male, female, young and old with my books even though I am a Young Adult Fiction writer and that's what I will be going in as in the publishing word no matter if I'm sixty at the time.
And if you look at it not just teens read the YA books many adults do too.
Anyways age shouldn't matter at all just that persons didecation and love for writing, if other writers love writing also and they see a piece of work that hasn't gotten feedback good or bad they should try to help that writer with feedback and suggestions.

- Sara M. Alaska
SimpleBend Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist
SelahDeNoctiluca Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Being a teen myself sometimes it's really hard for me to find someone who will have a serious conversation with me or look at my as someone other than a shallow teenager. I don't like it when people use being a teenager as an excuse though. All teenagers are perfectly capable of doing some wonderful things. It's just that they don't realize it, and the people around them don't realize it.

During the months of NaNoWriMo, I really enjoy the group of people I see at Write-Ins because they are people that don't belittle me. Certain adults judge people my age based purely on age. I'm sixteen, so I have to be a whiny, shallow slut. This is something that seriously gets on my nerves.

No. Age does not matter. I hate when people find out how old I am and things I fit a certain stereotype. I believe that teenagers are capable of wonderful things I heard a story about someone who published when he was twelve years old. He's twenty-one now, and he's making a real difference in the lives of people around him. You don't have to be a certain age to do some wonderful things, you just have to have the motivation.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012   Writer
I really wish I could favourite forum topics. :p

The ageism thing is particularly irritating because it's done so casually. People talk about whiny teens asking for constructive criticism when what they really mean is "give me compliments!" and...that's irritating when anybody does it. Honestly, I can't imagine that the people saying these things actually check everyone's age every time it happens, so it gets to the point where, presumably, they think teens act like that because every time someone does it they assume they're dealing with a teenager. It's the same with graffiti and vandalism: any time it wasn't obviously someone else, teens get the blame.

To avoid the response that comes up every time I mention this in actual conversation, I'll add this: it doesn't matter if you do check the age of whatever whiny deviant you've stumbled across and it doesn't matter if they are a teenager every time. Your anecdotal evidence doesn't allow you to be casually ageist any more than it allows you to be casually racist.

It's obviously just as bad when it happens the other way around, but I've never actually noticed that being done so casually.
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Professional Writer
Yes, whiney response to critique is annoying no matter what. And 90% of the time, it's NOT been a teen, in my experience.
Selimeia Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you. Thank you sooo much for opening this discussion.

I do believe that age makes a difference in writing - maybe there are different themes, different views etc. - and I'm totally fine with that.

However, I do not think that artwork should be judged by that. Just because the theme is love (when it comes to a teenager), the poem doesn't need to be bad (I'll admit freely that many are, but this applies to older people just as much!)

What really annoys me about the age differences, though, is the constant underestimation. I hardly get that on dA as I hardly get constructive or any feedback at all, but I know from other forums how it goes. As an 18-year-old, I try to give constructive criticism and write a comment about twice as long as the original text - and people just IGNORE it - no response, nothing. Or, even worse, the arrogant "You're eighteen years old, wait until you're my age and you'll look at this differently."
SO ANNOYING! I mean, I spend hours to help someone out and I really don't care for the age, and this is all I get?
Same thing the other way round: Many people 30+ just don't seem to be interested in the text, and if they really do take the time to read it (against all odds), the comment I get treats me like a baby. Just as bad in real life.

I mean, of course there are some differences between the ages, but that's what makes it interesting and offers opportunities rather than limiting them or access or anything.

(Sorry, I'm a little touche when it comes to the subject.... Too many hours of critiquing in vain.)
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Professional Writer
I go out of my way to have teen beta readers, because I WRITE FOR TEENS. I know many authors who do the same. Teen readers/writers can be just as insightful -- if not more -- than their grown-up counterparts. Nobody calls you out on continuity errors like young readers!
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