A large part of the reason I write for teens is because I am one myself, albeit not for much longer. (I’m nineteen.) The ideal audience for my writing has grown up along with me to a small degree, but now, as a junior year of college, I’m more confident that my audience will continue to be teens. I came to a realization about a year ago, however, that has reinforced that decision.
I got involved in some friend group drama a while back, and it led to me posting an image about education and kids (I wanted to use it as the featured image so you could get the full context, but wasn’t sure about the legality of that since I found it via Instagram) in a writing group that sparked a brief debate. During the course of the discussion, I said something to the effect of “It’s important to discuss stuff like this now, because it’s too late for someone in their fifties to change their early parenting methods, but since we’re teens, we can do the job better from the beginning.” I realized, as I wrote that, that it carries more meaning than I had intended.
We teens are the future, whether we’re saying that in terms of big issues or seemingly insignificant ones. To use the parenting example: most of us don’t have kids yet, so those of you who want them (totally fine if you don’t too – I’m not having any) have your whole parenting careers ahead of you still. As we turn eighteen, we’ll be able to vote. Some of us – for example Greta Thunberg – are already out there doing big things. We are the next generation, the ones whose worldviews and decisions will impact humanity in the future more strongly than others.
(That’s not to say of course that once you hit 40 you can’t do much – if you’re alive, functioning, and interested, you absolutely can make a difference. Shout-out to my parents who are proof. This blog post is simply focusing on teens out of all the people possible because I’m a YA writer, and presumably you’re a YA reader or writer.)
And that’s why writing for teens is important. Not everyone has to of course – other audiences are totally valid and necessary too – but for those of us who do, I hope we realize how important our audience is. The education we get now, and the ideas we hold, will eventually translate to who becomes the next president, how mental health is viewed, how climate change is addressed, how the next generation is raised, and more. And we writers are partially responsible for that, whether it’s through portraying the experiences of asexual characters in our fiction, or writing blog posts like this one, or any other media.
This, fellow teens, is one reason I write for us (I write for myself too), and why teens are an important audience in general. Because if I can contribute to helping my and future generations become more knowledgeable or better people, everyone may benefit in the long run.