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A Guide To Getting Your Voice Heard as a Young Writer

Being a young writer can be daunting. As part of the many insecurities that come with being an adolescent, you may be scared of sharing your work, be it with close friends and family or the wider world. While keeping a journal or writing as a means of personal expression is satisfying on its own, one of the most important parts of being an artist is opening yourself up to a wider audience. Doing this is never easy — you may be faced with enormous praise, heartbreaking criticism, or just nothing at all — but it is a process that will mature you as an artist and as a person. And in the age of the internet, opportunities for young writers are endless. So here are four great means to get your work out there as a teen writer.

1. Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

The Scholastic Awards are a national competition held every year for not only various forms of writing (poetry, short stories, nonfiction, plays etc.), but a wide spectrum of other art forms. It draws more than 300,000 submissions from more than a dozen disciplines. Teen artists have the opportunity to gain recognition at a regional and national level and can gain access to workshops and events designed specifically to encourage their art form. Submissions open late fall and end sometime during mid-December, depending on the region.

2. YoungArts

Similar to the Scholastic Awards, YoungArts is a foundation established to recognize and award the nations most creative and unique artists. Youngarts Finalists are able to be considered as potential U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts and are also given access to various programs, such as the prestigious National YoungArts Week in Miami. Applications for YoungArts open in August and run through October 13.

3. Literary Magazines

The internet has created vast opportunities for student run high school and college literary journals to flourish. The Adroit Journal, Polyphony HS, and the Winter Tangerine are few eminent ones. They offer a chance for students to have their work published online or in a print magazine. While these journals are often very selective, many of them offer valuable, thoughtful criticism on the pieces that you send in.

4. Online Magazines

Writing for Affinity Magazine is a great way to get your opinions heard. Joining the staff and committing to weekly articles keeps you on the lookout for compelling news, and also forces you to have a well thought out opinion to share with the world at the end of the week. It is also an invaluable resource to get acquainted with a community of writers. Magazines similar to Affinity include Rookie Magazine and Teen Vogue, and there are also a handful of small magazines similar to Affinity that are always looking for writers.

Having your work published or awarded as a young writer or artist not only helps build up your resume for college, but it’s also an invaluable affirmation and encouragement to keep moving forward with your craft. The internet has created an entire platform for writers to build community and be recognized, so here’s to hoping you make the best of it!

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Written by Vidhisha Mahesh

An avid reader and pop culture enthusiast, Vidhisha spends her time writing, volunteering for the Teen program at her library, and ignoring her calculus homework.

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