Being a Young Arts Writer: Ellen Orange

Ellen Orange reflects on her experience as a young arts writer and her top tips for getting involved

Being a Young Arts Writer: Ellen Orange

Today anyone can be a writer – the internet and blogging has made it possible for anyone to put their work online and be seen. However, starting up as a young writer can be daunting, and it requires a lot of confidence to put yourself and your work out there.

Some of this is because everyone is doing the same thing, which sparks worries that you won't be seen or you will just get lost in the masses of information. Or, for some people, the idea that their work will be seen is scary prospect. Particularly in the arts sector, where everyone has an opinion about everything, it can be difficult to expression those opinions for fear that you might be wrong or that you don't know enough about the subject.

But in some ways this is also why the arts are great to write about. I have discovered this year that I don't have to be an expert in dance to appreciate it and express those thoughts on paper (or through a keyboard). This year I have explored dance, physical theatre, art in advertising, the links between art and technology, how popular television is an art form and so much more. Writing about the arts has helped me discover new experiences and art forms which I never thought would interest me, it has broadened my knowledge of different types of art and culture, and it has made me question what art is and what it means to me.

If you are struggling to find your feet as a young writer don't panic and certainly don't give up. Here are the key things I have learnt this year:

1. Write for a name

There is nothing scarier than staring at a blank new Wordpress site and trying to work out the whole direction you want your blog to take. Blogging is great but when you are first starting it is often much easier to write for an established site or magazine, where the content is more structured and you can get comfortable before you start experimenting. Sign up to a student newspaper or look to find online magazines which take contributors.

2. Start with your interests

If you love drama then start there – pick a subject and experiment with different forms, reviews, opinion pieces on the industry etc. It is easier to start by writing what you know, then when you feel like you have pinned down your style you can venture out into the unknown and explore less familiar topics.

3. Don't be scared to try new things

I had never vlogged before. In fact, before this year I had never filmed a video that wasn't just on my phone. But I gave it a shot, experimented with programmes and different cutting techniques, and eventually, after many, many takes and a lot of editing, I managed to produce some video content which made me quite proud. Embrace the possibilities of multimedia and don't worry, if it goes terribly wrong, there is still a 'delete' button!

The most important thing is to believe that you can do it – if you have something to say then put it out there! I hope you learn as much as I have and most importantly have fun while doing it. So put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard- and good luck!


Ellen Orange

Ellen Orange Contributor

I am a 24 year old Marketing Officer from the North East with a passion for arts and writing. I did a BA in English Literature and an MA in Twentieth and Twenty First Century Literature at Durham University, because I love books and reading! I have experience in writing for a variety of student publications, as well as having contributed to Living North, a regional magazine and Culture magazine, a supplement to regional newspaper, The Journal. I have been part of a Young Journalists scheme writing for NewcastleGateshead's Juice Festival, a young people's arts and culture festival, and have since become a Team Juice member. As well as reading and writing, I love theatre, photography and crafts.

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