Known also as Generation Y, “millennial” is the coined term for the generation of people born in between the 1980s and the early 2000s. People of this generation are now entering adulthood and are starting to write their history.
Millennials have long been the brunt of many jokes. They have often been described as sheltered, selfish, flighty, and fragile. Following the generation’s first footsteps into taking charge, many millennial writers have started to make their voice heard. Here are five unique traits that separate millennial writers from the rest.
While there is plenty of literature to read, this leaves millennials with very little to write about. Millennials have taken this as a challenge. One of the many more popular forms of literature today are rehashes of classic stories set in the modern world or adapted to be more inclusive to modern society. Moreover, millennials are the primary producers and consumers of fan fiction, a form of story in which elements are lifted from an already-existing story. Despite the number of stories that have already been told, millennials will find ways to tell their stories.
Technology is the cornerstone of the millennial generation. Growing up in the Internet age has greatly affected the hows, whys, and whats of millennial literature. Slam poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib says, “Our access to rapidly shifting technology has given us newer [and more] ways to view and write about our world.” Writer and teacher Tyler Barton also thinks that the Internet has greatly affected the ways and the means with which millennials write. “I think millennial writers are different because they grew up writing on the internet . . . we write faster, move quicker, [and we are] more likely to write shorter [pieces, and] more likely to spend less time working on a single piece,” he says.
Having grown up in a fast-paced society, millennials are multitaskers, and they employ mixed media while writing. There are authors who publish solely on the Internet, those who exclusively publish in print, and those who aim to get published in as many media as possible. Millennials are also very likely to work on more things at once, and to work on shorter things to be able to move on to the next. Barton has this to say about how millennials write: “I think our inherent need for instant satisfaction reflects itself in our writing. You don't see a lot ‘slow burn’ stories by young people. A lot of us are putting the gunshot or the punch or the chase or the sex or the scream or the laugh in the first sentence, first paragraph, and a lot of times we reach the end by the first page.”
Along with the rise of the Internet age came the arrival of social media. This allowed writers to get in touch with their audience on a personal level and to gain feedback quickly. Moreover, many millennial writers got their start writing on online forums, blogs, and content websites. Readers could actively comment on a story as it was being written or an article as soon as it was posted. Millennial writers are given the opportunity to let their readers be part of the writing process.
Growing up in a world of change, the millennial writer aims to include “the other” as much as possible. Over the years, many authors have tackled many sensitive issues such as discrimination, privilege, and prejudice. Millennial writers talk about this more often than any other generation, as they believe that they could change the world. Barton hopes that millennial writers are becoming more inclusive in their work: “We're not shying away from it. We still know full well that it is hard work. We're always talking about how to do it. We truly want to do it and we feel that responsibility. I like to think that with the current state of the world (the plain openness of privilege, prejudice, and injustice) that we're ever more cognizant of how our characters (and speakers) will be read on so many socio-cultural-racial levels. I hope that we're not only aware of these things, but working harder than anyone to get better at it.”
Whether one likes it or not, millennials know their place and are ready to run the world. Their literature is a reflection of personalities, their hopes, and their ambitions.
If you’re a millennial writer, then we’re sure you can definitely relate. Watch out for more blogs just like this one!
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