A Published Author At 16? No Big Deal

This 24-year-old blogger recently became very jealous when she heard about a 16-year-old published author.

Steph Bowe is an Australian writer who’s first YA novel Girl Saves Boy will be released in America in 2011. She’s 16 years old now, but scored a book deal when she was just 15.

I was happy to score a learner’s permit to drive at that age. But I’d always dreamed about publishing a book. Not that I actually did anything at all to accomplish this dream. I didn’t write anything that could resemble a book. I didn’t make any outlines. All I really did was read a lot and remind myself that some people thought I was a good writer. Not exactly on the fast track to literary success that way. Which is why I am all the more impressed with Bowe’s feat. That takes a lot of talent and a lot of motivation for a teenager who probably has plenty of distractions vying for her attention.

As someone who’s practically over the hill in comparison, I appreciate that, in addition to talent and ambition, Bowe seems to have some perspective too. In a blog post, she wrote some advice for other aspiring young writers that includes, in part:

  • It is not a race. Okay? I’m going to repeat that because it is so, so important: It is not a race. It does not matter what age you are published at. If you reach legal age without a book on shelves, guess what? It doesn’t matter. You have plenty of time to become a professional writer. It doesn’t need to happen right now. You are still a success, irrespective of when and whether or not you are published.
  • I’m 16. I got a book deal when I was 15. There are authors that were published at 13 and 14 and I always find myself thinking, God, must I fail at everything I do? They were published younger than me! I think a lot of young, motivated people set impossibly high standards for themselves. Know that no matter how much you succeed, you’re still going to feel like you could have done better. Ignore these thoughts. You are an amazing person, regardless of what you achieve and the age at which you achieve it.

The fact that she seems so encouraging takes a little of the edge off of my jealousy I suppose. But this all just reminds me why I used to hate those Oprah episodes on child and teenage prodigies. While I was going to the movies on Fridays and eating at Ruby Tuesdays, some teens were out there starting a charity to save disadvantaged kids or inventing something that would revolutionize the world or some such. I was eating broccoli and cheese soup and they were accomplishing monumental things. Oh well, both have their perks I guess.

Congrats Steph Bowe!

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2 responses to “A Published Author At 16? No Big Deal

  1. Thanks for the lovely post.
    I still feel jealous of all the successful teens I see on TV – I’m not exactly changing the world!

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