Priorities: A Case StudyMarch 19, 2009 at 3:12 PM | Posted in Life | 9 Comments
Tags: antisocial, English, hobby, Priorities, priority, procrastination, school, social life, support, teen writer, teenage, teenager, writer, Writing
Priorites. They’re always hovering in the mind of the teen writer, mostly because writing is a big, loud one. This so-called hobby simultaneously drains our energy and keeps us going, distracts us and keeps us focused, makes us interesting and also sculpts us into antisocial weirdos. So how exactly does writing factor into our lives? Where does it fall on the priority scale? Let’s delve into a few cases…
The Constant: School > Writing
Just by our very nature, teen writers tend to be horrible overachievers. What other kind of student would go home and write not for English class but for fun, follow grammar rules and writing guidelines for fun, work on the skills of a possible future career for fun, do this thing that some would label “actually productive” for fun? Face it: we’re nerdfaces. This creates a problem in many cases.
Scenario. It is 11PM. You are writing. You have a 100-point History exam tomorrow. You know nothing and have not studied. This is a problem.
Traditionally, a kid engrossed in some activity at 11PM – Facebook, partying, etc. – would blow off the test. They wouldn’t really care. But a teen writer cannot fail any test, because that would go against our secret, shameful belief that we are special and highly intelligent. So we slink off from the computer or notebook like a wounded puppy to study (or work on that essay, or whatever). Sadness.
The Procrastination: Procrastinating schoolwork > School > Procrastinating other responsibilities > Other responsibilities > Procrastinating writing > Writing
This is me. I am a huge procrastinator – I’m doing it right now. Procrastinating schoolwork. I’m also procrastinating washing my clothes (it’s urgent – I’m down to 0 pairs of socks). And washing the dishes, which my dad has been yelling at me about for hours. I’d say I’m procrastinating writing, but right now, writing is so far down on the list I’m not even thinking about it.
That’s the problem: writing isn’t quite mindless enough to count as a “procrastination activity” like watching TV or doodling, but it’s not quite important enough to be done before schoolwork due tomorrow and urgently needed laundry. For teens, writing counts as a hobby, which can be a death sentence in our fairly hectic lives. And writing is hard, so even if we have the free time to write, watching reruns of sitcoms you don’t even like often feels like a better option… somehow. This is a problem.
The Truth: Writing > Social life
If being a teen writer makes us overachievers, our love of working alone all day makes us true introverts. Basically, we tend to have no lives. Sometime during our development, we got a gene that made blowing off our friends and staying at home to write sound more fun than going outside and socializing for god’s sake. This isn’t always the case, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of if it is. We get plenty of interaction at school and on the internet. Yes, we do. No, seriously. Shut up.
The Parent’s Wishful Thinking: School > School-related activities > Family, friends, other hobbies not taking place in front of computer > Writing
In the mind of many parents, writing as a hobby could perhaps only beat out standbys such as “parties with rampant drug and alcohol use” and “doing favors for men with shaved heads behind the iHop.” Writing-detesting parents come in many forms, including:
The Left Brain. “Work on your math homework.” “I thought you wanted to be a doctor.”
The Worrier. “But how are you going to support yourself?” “You don’t want to be like your Uncle Rick – remember he was so poor and then he shot himself.”
The This-Isn’t-How-I-Raised-You. “I saw a curse word! Do you have sex in there, too?! Bestiality?!”
The Just-Doesn’t-Get-It. “You’ve been on there for half an hour already.” “Your brother wants to play World of Warcraft.”
Of course, many moms and dads out there are highly supportive, or indifferent at worst. And we should be thankful for the roof and computer – or college aid – they provide us with (even if the computer is in the living room – seriously, the living room?). But the haters are out there. It’s up to us to deal, and quietly leave them out of our acknowledgments when the time comes. Maybe.
The Dream: Writing > Friends, other hobbies > Anything besides school > School
For all our grade obsessing, deep down I think all teen writers hate school with the burning fire of a thousand suns, with one of the bigger reasons being that it interferes with our grand writing plans. You know, finish that book by x date, write a thousand words tonight – all of it is sabotaged by The Monster. This is why summer is so great. Yes, we look forward not to beach trips and the pool, but having endless hours to write (read: sit in front of the computer).
So Twifties, how does writing play into your life? Where does it fall on your scale?
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