More often than not teenagers get a bad press but 2009 has been a little differant.
Tom Daly, a 15 year old boy, has become the World Diving Champion.
Mike Parham became, at 17, the youngest person to sail around the world. A two year journey that he had begun at the age of 15.
On the opposite side, Linda Dekker a 13 year old from Holland was put into care to prevent her from sailing around the world.
For every success there seems to be someone who is held back because of their age.
I never set out to be a writer.
Just wasn't at the top of my to do list.
Sure, I wrote things like poetry and song lyrics but, then, so do other people my age.
And, of course, there was school. That was writing, writing and more writing. So, who in their right mind would want to carry on writing when they had left school?
So why do it?
And why a western?
If you asked either Tom Daly or Mike Parham why they do what they do I guess the answer is because it is there. The challenge is out there.
When you live with a grandfather who has shelves of western dvds and books the seeds get sown.
When you read a book that is so today with unwestern like subjects like child abuse and lesbianism, more seeds get sown.
Then discover that the same writer wrote about domestic violence questions begin to form.
Though these are not subjects that you will find in my story 'Darke Justice' which will be just one of the twenty one stories in the anthology 'A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS' to be published on 31st January 2010.
I began the story when I was 15 and I will be 17 when the anthology comes out. As long as it took Mike Parham to circumnavigate the world.
But I had a lot of help along the way. First, there was my granddad. When I put my story to him he read it through and told me that I needed to finish it. Like I had written the thing and he said 'finish it'. He took me out of my 'school' head. I mean at school you write out your project and end of story.
He told me to read it through as though I was reading it in a book. Then ask myself what the writer could have done to make the story better. That's what I did. Not once, not twice. I lost count. What I did see was my ideas take shape. Then he asked someone else to look at it.
It was the belief in me by other people that made me believe in myself.
Even doing two episodes of 'The Story With No Name' was daunting. 500 words easy peasy it was like doing a school project. Until I stepped back and listened to everything that I had been taught. Then it was not that easy. Even more so since I didn't tell anyone about the first piece until the very last minute.I closed my eyes and hid under the bedclothes after I put it on line. Then I got a phone call from granddad and he was so positive.
The good thing is that there are new projects to encourage young people to write. The BBC are piloting a scheme to help young people between 17 and 22 to write publishable stories.
I just hope that any young people who read my story will be encouraged to write.
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