I joined a community for young writers…and left. Let’s jump straight into the blog post.
A few months ago, my mom came across an email from The Young Writer’s Workshop, a Christian based course where young writers can learn from published individuals and interact with other writers. The email announced a 2-day event called a summit (literally just a conference), where well-known authors would speak on different writing and Christ related topics. The conference was both online and free, so I attended.
During the summit, there was a special offer: join YWW for only $1 for the first month. The membership normally costs $30+ a month, so the offer was a good deal. I took it.
For that one month, I used YWW to its full advantage. There are all kinds of resources in the content library, and anything you want to know related to books, writing, publishing, and marketing is there. Since I’d previously had a membership to another author website, I knew a lot about writing. However, publishing and marketing in this day and age is a whole new level of information. I gleaned as much as I could from the content library on YWW, and I am very thankful I could get as much as I did out of that website.
Another part of my YWW membership was the community. The community is on a separate platform managed by the YWW people, and it’s basically social media for young writers. I enjoyed my time there. I got to meet so many wonderful people, and I learned so much from other young writers like myself. I even got some help brainstorming ideas as I wrote the second book in my Fire Trials trilogy.
...And Then I Left
After the $1 trial was up, I cancelled my membership. My mom offered to pay for an entire year on the site, but after lots of praying and thinking, I finally decided to leave.
Look, I loved YWW. It has a lot of helpful information and advice, and you can interact with instructors (published authors) there. You can talk to other young writers, get feedback on your work, and help others in their writing journeys.
However, YWW is tailored to young, homeschooled Christians. There are a lot of security measures in place, and they have content warnings for everything. A lot of things like magic and drinking you can’t write about unless you add a content warning to it. Some topics you can’t even post about. Non Christians wouldn’t even think of using restrictions like these.
Honestly, these measures are there to give parents a peace of mind when letting their kids on a social media-like website. I completely understand where YWW is coming from. I’m happy that young Christian kids are able to be socialize in a healthy environment, and it’s good that parents are able to keep their children safe on the internet.
Buuut…(You knew the big but was coming, didn’t you?)…I am 17. I think deeply, and I like to incorporate deep elements into my writing. Some of these elements aren’t light topics, and I understand that a lot of Christians don’t want their young children reading books with darker, more heavy themes.
To put it shortly, my audience is not the people on YDubs. I’m writing for a more general audience—in particular, non Christian teens. (“Those who are not sick have no need of a physician.” See if you can catch my meaning.) YWW is there to help you in your writing process. As I am currently working on a trilogy that deals with a lot of violence, I don’t really fit in. What I can get out of the community is limited. What I can get out of the content library I’ve already watched or read.
If the membership were free or less than $10 a month, I would have stayed. I enjoyed meeting people. I enjoyed helping them with their writing. Staying would have been mostly for the support (they even have a prayer group) and being able to uplift others in their journeys. However, I was not willing to spend—or let my parents spend—money on something I would only use occasionally. My audience is out there. I just have to find them in other places.
As for the support, some YDubbers have stuck with me through email, and I’ve found some people through Instagram. It’s so nice being able to interact with other writers and Christians. Being on YDubs has encouraged me to pursue writing seriously (in hopes of publishing a good book), and I feel a lot more confident in the direction I need to head.
I’m so thankful for the time I spent on YDubs. I got an awesome view into the world of publishing, learned from other writers, and learned more about book marketing through social media. All of this allowed me to figure out the direction I wanted to go in writing. It also allowed me to know how to pursue writing as a career. I just think YDubs wasn’t specifically for me, and if there’s another writing community out there that fits my audience, I’ll definitely try it out.