Writing Advice from Young Authors

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“If you really love writing, follow it with all of your heart. Try your best to become an author.  Even if you write your first book  and it turns out to be a flop, you just keep going, and maybe it will become a movie!”  —young writer from Creative Write-it Workshop

           Before my morning coffee, I watched a video to help me write a post I struggled with and subsequently deleted the day before.  The video began with excited kids rushing into a room with smiles on their faces and writing materials in their hands.  The studio had huge picture windows that invited nature in to be an inspiration.  There were open shelves filled with books, a shiny wood floor, and tables with kids already seated and writing.   The kids are participants in a writing workshop.

         Then, one cute kid plopped down in a chair with a sign that read, “Author Chair.”   He begun by stating that he’d been a writer for 2 1/2 years.  He appeared to be about 8 years old.  A little girl shared that she had been writing since she was 4; she looked about 6 years old.  I was captivated right away because some of these kids knew when they first started writing, more specifically, when they became authors.   The video was made and uploaded by Creative Write-it  (http://www.creativewriteit.com.au/), a writing workshop that combines the passion for writing with the love of working with young children.  Here is the link to the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMWEmoT3KYk).

          I ran the video twice at home and again once I got to work to share it with my high school students.  We’d been reading stories from the Realism period and trying our hands at writing.  I wanted to infect them, and myself, with the confidence exhibited in the video.  After viewing the video several times, I realized that I had something in common with the young authors.  I loved writing as a child.  I would write on envelopes, on loose leaf paper, in journals, in margins of books, on church programs, and on menus.  Writing was a constant in my life then as it is now.  They even enjoyed writing when they’d experienced difficulties such as running out ideas.  I wish I had seen this video 24 hours earlier because I’d written a pretty good essay.  However, after driving home and thinking about it, cooking dinner and thinking about it, and rereading it once more, I deleted it.  I regret it now.

Hearing the excitement in the voices reminded me that I am supposed to enjoy writing.  Yes, it’s hard.  Yes, I don’t always feel confident about my writing.  But, girl, get over yourself!  Post something already!   In closing, here is what I learned from watching the video of the young authors at Creative Write-It:

  • Say “you’re a writer.”  The kids confidently claimed that they had been writers for long periods of time.  The kids themselves decided they were writers, not an audience.  I must declare that I am a writer even if no one reads my writing.
  • ideas are everywhere.   A few kids shared that ideas are usually right under your nose.  Some of them found inspirations in their dreams; others used their imaginations to dream up stories.  I must realize that every day a story is story presents itself.  I dream, I imagine, and I observe.  I need to follow that up with writing.
  • Writing can be difficult.  One kid admitted that sometimes she just runs out of ideas while writing and it makes her want to scrap the entire project (I know the feeling).  However, she keeps going because she wants to meet the deadline.  First, set goals and deadline to provide guidance and to reduce the need to perfect my posts.  Second, when I want to scrap a piece of writing, just keep going.  Maybe I can use the draft some other time.
  • Know why you write.    One kid shared that she has to write her feelings on paper.  She added that if it is in head, she just had to get it out by writing to create a little more space.  Another kid shared that he is always thinking of different characters and places and writing is the easiest way to [do something with them].  A third young writer resolved that she just had to practice her handwriting and her letters.  When she was in writing class, she had no choice.

The video ended with a young writer encouraging others to follow their hearts if you love writing.   I am encouraged.