I’ve been giving creative writing workshops on and off for the last three years. Anyone who has dealings with teenagers may wonder if I’m mad. But I believe there’s more to teenagers than hysterical headlines and temper tantrums. I believe they deserve to be taken seriously and that the time is ripe to harness their creative potential. A romantic notion no doubt, but one I see proven time and again in the workshops I’ve given them.
There are five reasons why teenagers make such good writers.
They’re full of imagination
Their brains are just bursting with wacky ideas and they’re relatively uninhibited, so they’re not afraid to be original and quirky. The popularity of fantasy books like Twilight and The Hunger Games shows that they’re drawn to the idea of escape and they’re familiar with the idea of creating new worlds.
Teenage stories are laden with sex, death and drugs. While adults are afraid to go to the dark side with their writing, teenagers show no such fear. This means their writing really packs a punch, though as a creative writing tutor, it’s important for me to help them channel their writing, so their stories don’t turn into total gorefests.
Because their writing is so wacky, teenagers come up with ridiculous, quirky scenarios that never fail to raise a smile
Teenagers absorb information and ideas incredibly quickly. They have a wide frame of reference that’s alien to most adults and they come up with fresh angles that adults wouldn’t think of. When I try to explain something to them, I find they usually know far more about it than I do.
Teenagers are at an incredibly exciting stage in their development, when their ideas are just starting to form. To be part of helping them develop their ideas is a humbling experience. Though inhibition does start to creep in as they sink further and further into hormone soup, they’re still not afraid to explore new concepts and push the boundaries of writing.
I love working with teenagers so much that I’m running Easter creative writing camps for them in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. One is a four-day camp for 11-14 year olds, running April 10th to 13th from 10am to 12pm each day. The other is an intensive two-day workshop, similar to an adult course, for 15-18 year olds. It runs on April 11th and 12th, from 2-5pm. They’re at the Common Thread Cafe and you can book by calling me on 087 6959799. If you are in Clonmel or know someone who is, please spread the word.