Friday, January 24, 2014

The Challenges of Writing - Speaking to a 7th Grade English Class

A couple of months ago my 12 year old daughter said something that really touched me. She said that she had Googled me in class and that the entire first page was about me.

"You're kind of famous," she said and then clarified, "I mean famous for a normal person." I laughed at her observation and I was touched that a know-it-all pre-teen could be impressed by her "old" mom.

(Headshot I use in social media and one of the first images that comes up for me.)
Then a couple of weeks ago she came home from school and asked me for my email address. She said that her teacher was going to contact me about speaking to her English class. I don't know about you, but I consider that the utmost compliment from a pre-teen. She actually wants me to come to her school and speak to her class and she's not embarrassed.
I have that image from the movie Some Kind of Wonderful when the dad peeks into his daughter's classroom. He waves at her when she seems him and she lets out this blood curdling scream.
So with that reaction in mind it's kind of cool that my daughter actually volunteered me to come to her school to speak. I'm speaking to the class about the writing and editing process. Her teacher emailed me and then we talked on the phone for a while and bounced around different ideas about what I could talk about. We finally settled on this outline.
·         When I knew I wanted to be a writer

·         How I found my way back to writing with the 10 minute exercises

·         Reading my writing in public with NuestraPalabra (that really pushed me along-the importance of a support group for me)

·         Finishing my novel
·         Reading APE
·         The importance of getting a good editor, someone else to check your work
·         Revising and self-publishing

So here we go. That's what I'm going to tell those young minds next week. Writing is
work. Writing is a challenge. You have to work to get the words out and then to edit those
words until they sound right.

As I get close to revising my novel and getting ready to publish it I'm reminded of several
years ago when I first met Jennifer Lawson (The Bloggess) on the phone. I told her how
much I enjoyed her blog and her writing and she modestly told me that I was writing
about meaningful things and that she wasn't. That was so sweet of her to say that and so
sweet of her to actually read my blog and reference it on her blog sometimes, but the
truth is that she does write about many meaningful things. It's so amazing that in the
years since that conversation she has published a New York Times' Best Seller, Let's
Pretend This Never Happened. She has been on national television  shows like the Katie
show and she has led life-changing revolutions like "the traveling red dress."

We all have a story to tell. As the great Maya Angelou says, "There is no greater agony
than bearing the untold story inside of you." Jennifer Lawson has done that. She has told
us her story and in my own way I will attempt to do that with my novel.

(Please excuse the crazy alignment. Ever since I added the bullet points I can't get this to straighten out. Ironic, considering I'm talking about editing.)

No comments: