Saturday, June 21, 2014

No Longer a Teen

So what I forgot to mention last week during my sum-up/update thing is that I had a birthday on June 2. I spent the entire thing (plus eight hours with time zone shenanigans) in airports and planes and still didn't get home that day because the last leg of our flight was canceled... *deep breath* But it was ok because the hotel we stayed in had excellent cake.

It was my 20th birthday.

Which means I'm no longer a teen.

And I know for some people that's one of those weird in-between birthdays where you've been an "adult" for a couple years already and you're still not old enough to drink alcohol... I "beat teen pregnancy," but that might be one of the 20th birthday's only claims to fame.

But for me it's been kind of a big deal.

Because I read YA. I write YA. I plan to be spending a big chunk of my life--personal and professional--taking in and putting out books meant for the teen population which (up until recently) I was a part of.

I am now officially not a teen. Which means
A) I'm pretty firmly older than most of my characters
B) There exist certain growing concerns about the age gap between me and the fictional characters I crush on.
C) My experience as a teen is now officially split off from the experience of current teens, and I am now officially in danger of being out of touch.

Legally, I became an adult at 18. But this birthday feels more like growing up. Friends laughed at me when I mentioned that, that I was "finally an adult" or something, but really. It's official now. It feels bigger.

 And also, I feel slow.

I know 20 is not old, especially when it comes to writing, and authors, and I know I'm farther along in the process than a lot of people my age. But sometimes that's hard to remember when people from all the "young/teen authors" websites and other circles I've frequented through my youth have had so many great things happen for them.

Their success does not detract from any of my own, and I'm so happy and proud of the young writers I know who are making things happen, who are getting it, who are there already...

But I want to catch up. And I'm wondering what I've been doing. Why I haven't gotten myself there yet...

Just after I started writing, I briefly entertained the idea that I was gonna be the youngest author EVER.

And then I heard about some really young authors already published, and that turned into the slightly more realistic, "Well, I'll publish when I'm like 13."

And that turned into, "I'll publish before I'm out of high school."

And I've figured for a while that I probably wouldn't get a book published as a teen, and nothing's changed in terms of my wanting to get published and be an author. I still know this is what I want to do. And I still believe I can make it happen.

But there's still something melancholy about watching the landmark pass. About wanting it all to happen faster.

Ugh. Getting older. How does one do it, and how does one deal with one's [not really] bitter reflections upon their youthful aspirations? Should one more middle grade? Thoughts?

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