Friday, July 24, 2009

Mercersburg Academy's Young Writers Camp - Guest Speaker

Last night I had the opportunity to speak to a group of 23 students (ages 11-15) who are attending the Young Writers Camp at Mercersburg Academy. The Highlights Foundation workshop, Life in the Spotlight, that I attended in March motivated me to set up this speaking engagement. I was a little nervous going in to it, not knowing what to expect from the students, and just then general speaking-in-front-of-a-group jitters.

But it went very well! The kids were great! I spoke to them first a little bit about trying to get published and how common it is to receive criticism and rejection, but how it’s important to push past that and keep writing. Then I read them my short story “Tattoo.” I feared the story would be too long to hold their attention, but they seemed to be attentive the whole time and afterwards they asked great questions. Some of them even volunteered to read the opening paragraphs they’d written for their mystery writing class. It was cool to see them all so excited about writing!

After I spoke and read, some of the students bought my short story collection, Growing Up Girl. One girl asked to interview me for an article for her journalism class. She asked some tough questions, like how would I describe myself in one word. (I answered “determined.”) But she was so sweet. I asked her if she wanted to be a journalist or a fiction writer and she told me she was going to be the President of the United States. I would love to see her as President!

Speaking to this group was a great pick me up after this past week – got another editor rejection on my novel :-/. But as I told the group last night, the first Harry Potter book received 9 rejections, Dr. Seuss received 15 rejections, Madeline L’Engle’s book A Wrinkle in Time received 26 rejections, and Judy Blume received “nothing but rejections” for the first 2 years she submitted her stories. I am only up to 2 editor rejections so far, so I guess I can’t complain!

1 comment:

Erika said...

You go girl! I'm happy to hear you are doing well and inspiring youth.