Neither Scalzi nor I have any interest in stopping teenagers from writing. Au contraire. We both wrote then and got a hell of a lot out of it, including reasonably successful careers now. I wrote the piece in the spirit of passing good advice along. (As well as to mock the younger me.) When I was a beginning writer lots of people went out of their way to help and encourage me.
Still, were I to write that piece now I would call it “Too Early to Publish” rather than “Too Young”, because the crux of the matter is not age but experience.
Many beginning writers are clueless about the depths of their writing ignorance. And the beginningest of them squall and rage when it’s pointed out to them. But that has nothing to do with how old they are. I know a few teenage (or just post-teenage) writers who are well into their journeyman writing years. And I’ve come across all too many older writers who are no where near them.
Too many people try to rush their babies into print before they’ve learned how to tell a story, before they’ve learned how to structure a sentence, or even a clause, or, Elvis help us all, how to pick the words they want (I do not think that word means what you think it means).
Whether you’re sixteen or sixty, if you want to be published then you have to learn how to write.
Read the whole thing, with which I greatly identify.
I’m almost 48 years old, I’ve more than 30 published books to my credit (including five novels), and I’m still learning how to write.