Let’s Hear from Teens



Let’s get some conversation going, in particular, I’d like to hear from some of our teen readers (I know you’re out there).

What’s the hardest part of writing? When a paper is due, what part of the process do you dislike the most? Is it getting an idea? Finding the right words? Grammar? Fear of criticism? Or something else altogether?

If you are a non-teen reader, I’d appreciate it if you’d send any teens you know this way. I’m looking forward to hearing the responses.

About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Makaylah

    Hi! I’m 16 and have been taking W@H classes for the past couple years.

    I would have to say that the hardest part of writing would be getting started. Like CJ creative writing comes naturally. But essays on the other hand feel so difficult! Most times when I see that an essay is next I start to procrastinate just to try and delay the process. But that doesn’t help either!
    Funny thing is, if I would just start writing I could finish faster. But somehow I just can’t seem to get past the beginning without taking an hour or more.
    That’s something I definitely need to work on. ­čÖé

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko01-11-2012

      Thanks, Makaylah. I think this may be the biggest problem writers have!

  2. Morgan

    Hi again. I’m 17 and for me, the hardest part of a writing assignment is brainstorming for ideas. I’m not one of those people who walk around with a million story/essay ideas ready to write. (Believe me, I have met quite a few people like that, so I know they exist.) So thinking up a good topic/story and an interesting hook are the hardest parts of writing for me.

    Grammar usually doesn’t give me major problems – the only other think I can think of that is difficult for me is arranging my paragraphs in the most readable/understandable format.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko01-06-2012

      Thanks Morgan. I get that.

      Arranging paragraphs — interesting. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a student express trouble with that. I find paragraphing to be generally instinctive. My rule is “if it seems like maybe a new paragraphs should go here, start a new paragraph.” Student writers tend to pack too much in each paragraph. Very few make the opposite mistake.

      Is that sort of what you meant?

      • Morgan

        I’m sorry; I didn’t make myself very clear there. I meant that I have trouble with deciding how to order my paragraphs.

        For instance, after I am done writing the entire essay and begin to edit it, I have difficulty deciding whether I should move the third paragraph up above the second, or move the fourth paragraph below my fifth, etc. In other words, often I can’t decide which of my supporting paragraphs presents the best argument. Since most essays move from the lesser to the greater (and sometimes vice versa), my paragraphs should be in a progression from my worst point to my best point, or in some other logical sequence. That is what I have trouble with – the placement of my supporting points/paragraphs.

        Does that make more sense?

  3. Stephanie

    For me, the hardest part of writing is probably getting the idea. Topic is probably a little bit too important to me… I write way better and enjoy writing when I’m interested or familiar with the topic, but I put off writing till the last minute if I don’t like my topic, which typically means the paper is poorly written. My topics are either too broad or too specific and it usually takes me a long time before I can finally decide on what to write about. And I’m not good at sticking with my decision. But if I can pick something I’m excited about and just get started, the rest of the writing process is easier.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko01-06-2012

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Stephanie. I think most of us relate to your struggles.

  4. Brian Wasko
    Brian Wasko01-06-2012

    Quit apologizing! This is great! Thanks for sharing.

    Believe me, I understand what it’s like to stare at a blank screen–just not for 3 hours! (By then, I’m staring at the back of my eyelids).

    Sounds like you are working through some strategies for avoiding that. I like freewriting–just writing whatever comes to mind about a topic. I use a keyboard for it, others like freewriting by hand (and adding doodles and illustrations too). Clustering works too, but usually only after I have a better idea of my topic.

    Since you are auditory, here’s an idea. Get a recorder (like the one that most smart phones have) and talk into it for a while with your ideas. You could use a video cam too, and record it (if you are not self-conscious). I do this sometimes. In fact, I do it to proofread on occasion too–I record myself reading what I’ve written, then play it back. It helps sometimes to hear how our writing sounds.

    Anyway, I’m rambling too. Maybe you can locate something useful in there! Thanks again, CJ!

  5. CJ

    Hello, I’m a 16 year old Colorado girl, I’ve taken W@H classes in the past, and may I just say that I love your blog! (I’m sorry for leaving no comments, but for some reason whenever I get around to it someone has already said what needs saying.)

    My main writing power is creative writing, so I won’t talk about that one. It’s truly a joy and I have no problems with it even when I have problems.

    I’m a tiny bit of a procrastinator when it comes to essays and stuff.
    Usually, my main issue would be “What is my thesis/stance on the issue??” For essays, I have a much harder time with creative flow. I also have a hard time with getting everything to sound smooth and connected. It is helpful that I have experience writing and delivering speeches, which has enabled me to write things quickly and to the point, but it’s still a struggle for me when my mind is a blank. I know I have to “just write,” but for someone who relies (perhaps too much) on a muse or “creative juices,” I’m staring at a blank screen a lot during the first stages of the paper. It’s frustrating, and I’m trying to break the habit of doing nothing for the first three hours.
    I’ve taken to writing out my train of thought, and that helps me a good deal. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but if I write down things as if I am talking to myself, then I can identify what I’m thinking about the subject quicker than if I *just* think about it. Maybe that just works for me because I do, in fact, talk to myself very regularly because I am auditory and hearing things make it easier for me to grasp. But actually writing out my thoughts cuts the screen-staring time in half. ­čÖé

    That was a long comment. . . . (oops) Apologies for rambling.

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