This year of 2018, my birthday happens to take place on a Tuesday. Since that’s when I usually post on TAJ, why not make this post extra special? Here’s a post I wrote 2 days ago to share 15 valuable lessons of writing—one for each year I’ve been alive.

15. Writing opens up a world of opportunities.

If I never began writing when I was seven years old, I probably wouldn’t be at the same skill level I am today. I wouldn’t be blogging every week. I wouldn’t have a book project to be working on. But perhaps something more important is an improvement in my abilities to communicate. I have developed persuasive writing skills that allow me to share my thoughts and feelings with the world. The ability to write and persuade is crucial in today’s society, especially in the online community.

14. I’ve learned what it’s like to truly take on a project.

I don’t want to be super stereotypical, but picture an average teenager. At least, a teenager without any writing in their life. What do they do every day? What kind of hobbies do they have? Let’s take sports, for example. Sports are time-consuming and take commitment, but there’s not too many projects involved. Even in the world of music, where a difficult piece may take weeks or a couple of months to learn, how often does it take more than a year?

Writing a book is challenging. But with this hobby of mine I’ve been able to take on projects with full commitment. I’ve endured my way through NaNoWriMo and maintained, updated, and promoted Teen Authors Journal for nearly two years (TAJ’s anniversary is on February 2, 2o18 :D). These projects take a long time, but getting through to the end is a valuable experience.

13. Writing has helped me in ALL of my classes.

I know there’s classes like PE and music, but even in those we get the occasional writing assignment. Let’s be truthful: writing comes in handy a lot, especially at school. Being able to write well is helpful in every single class I take, not just English.

12. Proper typing helps a lot!

In 3rd and 4th grade we had typing classes at my school to learn the correct form. At that time I would work on my book at least a couple times a week, so I got enough practice to really set my form and improve my speed. When it comes to writing, I believe it is extremely helpful to know the correct typing form and be able to write quickly. In fact, it’s so helpful that I would even go as far as to call it essential.

I’ve seen kids my age type, and it’s not always the most pleasurable thing to watch. I’m thankful for all of the practice I have had to tone my typing skills.

11. I’ve learned how to navigate Word and other writing programs.

Have you even had to sit through one of those tutorials in class where your English teacher tries to show you how to insert a page break? By the time I was in third grade I had written enough on Word to be able to use it well. This comes especially in handy when it comes to formatting essays, working on school projects, etc.

10. Sleep deprivation doesn’t effect me too much.

Let’s be honest: not getting enough sleep sucks. It’s not healthy, and you can feel it. The good news is that I’ve suffered enough long nights of writing that getting only a few hours of sleep ever so often isn’t as bad as it used to be. I know this sounds sad, but I think in some ways it can be a useful skill. I’m not saying it’s good to deprive yourself of sleep, but in my case, I think it really helps that I don’t feel as exhausted too early in the day. And if the time comes that I can’t get much sleep for a reason besides writing, at least I know how to handle the deprivation without turning into a rabid monkey.

9. I started a blog.

Without writing in my life, Teen Authors Journal wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be sitting in front of my desk writing this post about the 15 lessons writing has taught me. I’d probably be watching TV and binge-eating snacks. Or maybe my other hobbies like video editing and guitar would have an even larger role in my life than the peripheral spotlight they have right now.

Blogging has taught me how to write in a whole new genre: nonfiction. I’ve learned how to take a nonfiction topic and turn it into something interesting. Maybe even something that people would be intrigued to read, and not bored to. Again, this is a skill useful in both school and in real life situations.

8. The importance of keeping quiet.

This is kind of a weird one I’ve come up with, but it’s honest. I do my best not to bring up writing too much in real life. Some kids think it’s weird that I write every day. Even my closest friends in real life don’t fully understand why I would want to do something “as boring as writing a book.” They don’t get it, and sometimes I forget that they don’t want to hear a lecture on how weird English grammar is. They want to talk about things almost everyone can relate to.

My hobby of writing is not very common among teens. I’ve learned how to keep my hobby under the radar, unless someone asks, of course. This skill has helped me in trying my best to give others a chance to talk, instead of talking too much about myself and what want to do. The last thing I want to do is be annoying. My experience with how other people react to my writing hobby helps me in various social situations. But that simply leads us to my next point:

7. It doesn’t matter what people think.

You know another reason why I love writing? Because I get to rule my own world. It doesn’t matter what people think about how I rule the world, the people who live in it, or anything else. I still get to make all of the decisions on my own.

I’ve made the mistake before of asking for advice on my book so much that the book’s plot slowly morphed into something I no longer wanted to write. Sometimes I’d share my plot and people would say, “You should make a funny character with glasses” or “I don’t really like the part with the cliff. Maybe a mansion instead.” The phrase what people think doesn’t refer directly to people judging you about writing. It also connects to other people’s feedback on your writing. I’ve learned to take advice from people and listen to what they have to say, but also stay in control of my novel. To keep writing what I love, moving on from what everyone else thinks.

6. Reading is important.

When I was a lot younger, reading was always a way for me to wind down and relax after school. I read all the time. To the point where I would bring a book to restaurants and read at the table. When I started writing, the amount of books I’d read plummeted. However, I’ve recently gotten back into it, and it’s reminded me why I wanted to write in the first place. The way each story is simply the way an author expresses themselves in order to share an opinion or thought with the world. In order to teach a lesson.

Reading is magical, and it’s also important. It teaches new vocabulary, helps your own writing flow better, and also teaches you amazing values. From books you can learn lessons that cannot be shared simply with words.

5. Time management really matters.

From having such a time-consuming hobby, I’ve learned to really manage my time. I have to be able to balance all my hobbies, still spend time with family, and also make sure I stay on track at school. Without writing, I might be wasting my time on things that are not very important.

Yesterday, my family decided to watch a movie together. I was excited to spend time with everyone, but the movie was unbearably long. My family left the movies feeling fine, but I left with a twist in my stomach. I felt this rotting regret that I had wasted so much valuable time. I’m glad I felt such a feeling, because it shows myself that I’ve really learned how to spend my time on productive things. Don’t get me wrong, though: I love wasting time on anime and movies once in a while. I’m just glad I can keep myself from doing it all the time.

4. Storytelling is a beautiful art.

From trying to create my own stories, I’ve learned to appreciate books and film to a much greater extent. Every story you hear was once created by someone who wanted to be heard. Since I’ve started writing I’ve been able to appreciate all kinds of art more. Paintings, movies, books, and especially music. To me, music is like a book without words. The composer had the same intention every author has: to tell a story in their own unique way.

3. Phones can be an awful distraction.

I use my phone all the time. At breaks during school, around the house, and sometimes even while I eat. It took a long time for me to realize how much of a distraction a phone is from my life until I noticed how much it began to get in the way of my writing. I have to put my phone far away from me while I write to make sure that a little buzz or ding doesn’t distract me. If a phone gets so much in the way of my writing, doesn’t it also get in the way of other things, too? I thought. The answer is yes. Thankfully, I’m working on reducing the time I spend on my phone.

2. There should never be such a thing as being bored.

You know what’s crazy about coming up with a story idea? You can do it without anything. You don’t even need a pen and paper to come up with an idea (although it’s recommended, so you don’t…you know…forget). Sometimes I hang out with my friends, and they constantly complain about being bored. I don’t like it when people complain about this because there’s always so much to do. Writing has truly taught me that. I can occupy myself with nothing more than a buzzing mind.

1. I’ve made amazing friends.

I’ve saved the most important for last, and it is the connections I’ve made through Teen Authors Journal. If you are reading this post, you should know that you’ve made a huge impact in my life. I have some amazing friends on Teen Authors Journal who I may not be writing today had I not met them. Even those who use this site that I don’t know too well are putting my hard work of creating this community to good use.

So I’m going to take this last point to thank all of you for being here to support me and more importantly, support each other. I’m in love with this online community, and my life would not be the same without it.

So thank you, everyone! And have an amazing day 🙂

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MelTorrefranca

MelTorrefranca

Hello writers of the world! I'm Melissa, the founder / designer of Teen Authors Journal. Although I create blog posts every Tuesday at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time), I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing! I'd love to learn more about all of you, so please don't hesitate to shoot me a message! 🙂

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