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! 


  1. I agree that the ageing process enhances your perspective (the more 'how did I survive that' experiences you have, the less your boat gets rocked). I also strongly agree with the read YA...I read 200+ per year, and the stay connected is a big one. That's why I mentor at our local Y.

  2. Age ABSOLUTELY gives writers an advantage. Happy early birthday!


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