Tonight I’m walking down to the library to lead a short story writing workshop for teens.
Part of me is still dizzied by my brashness in volunteering to do this (this is the same part that whispers to me, snake-like, “Give up. You’re no good at writing/educating your kids/whatever. Let the specialists do those jobs while you fold laundry and watch soaps.” I know better than to listen to it–much). Another part informs me that I have been writing for the past six or seven years and I do have some things to share. Besides, I see this more as an opportunity to encourage these kids than to tell them how to write.
Three pages of notes notwithstanding.
It’s hard to distill all I’ve learned in these years to a few maxims. So much of what I want to tell them seems contradictory. Things like, “You can only learn if you sit down and write“, but also “You can learn from others so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.” “Listen to critiques with an open mind” but “trust yourself and your story.” “Write what you want in the way you want it” but “Master the tools of good writing. Learn grammar. Learn to spell. Don’t overuse adjectives”
At the same time, I’m excited and optimistic about tonight. I love meeting creative people. I love talking about writing. I love watching young minds learn, explore, discover.
I’ll see you on the other side of this!