No 074 (2005): Spread the World, Publish!
Teen writers, just like their adult counterparts, need encouragement. Publishing may seem like an insurmountable goal for an aspiring teen, but many accomplished authors began their writing careers as teenagers. Mary Shelley was only 19 when she wrote Frankenstein and Gordon Korman's first novel, This Can't Be Happening at McDonald Hall, was written as a 7th grade English assignment. Publishing can be a positive outlet for teen energy and creativity. Seeing their writing in print or on the web encourages a sense of belonging and self-worth. Libraries can play a part in this process by educating teens about the publishing process and encouraging their active participation. Young writers also need to be inspired. By sharing success stories, librarians can make the goal of publishing seem that much more attainable. In addition, teenagers respond to the voices of their peers. Published teen writing has value beyond the cost of a paperback novel. Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl has educated generations of young adults about the holocaust. Teens relate to her voice because it is genuine. The power of publishing, in print and on-line, has made it possible for teens to share their experiences with one another. Libraries can assist this positive exchange, by encouraging and inspiring their teenage patrons to publish their writing.