Bring On The Birthdays! by Sydney Salter
Given that my life's goal is to become an interesting old lady, I love getting older. I've learned so much through experiences, relationships, reading and thinking. I'm more confident now. I care a lot less about what other people think. I know stuff.
As a person, I'm relieved to have put a lot of perspective between me and my childhood self. But as a writer, I'm aware that things have changed since I was a kid. I cannot wholly rely on my own experiences when writing for children.
Here are my tips for staying in touch:
1. Make friends of all ages!
I may not be raising children right now, but I hang out with people who tell me about the challenges kids face in today's world. Some stuff is the same--like the pain of eating lunch alone in the cafeteria. But other things have shifted dramatically.
2. Read a lot!
Of course, I read recently published novels. But I also read a lot of child/teen psychology and sociology. Right now I'm reading Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through The Seven Transitions Into Adulthood by Lisa Damour. Unfortunately, I cannot go back in time and raise my own daughters more wisely, but I can write better teenage characters.
3. Be curious!
I'm reaching that age where some of my older friends are getting a bit stuck in their ways. That simply won't work for someone writing for teens. I think the antidote is curiosity. Constant learning helps those of us with more years stay in touch with the modern world.
Aging gives writers an advantage, I think. I'm already looking forward to my birthday next month!