Recently a friend asked me to write a short call to action for her high school English class, to help them break out of the arrogant insecurity of youth and into the freewheeling creative writing process that you and I know so well. Below you will find, more or less, what I shared with them. Can I prevail upon you to share it with young writers you know? Because after all, hey, why should we adults have all the fun?
The problem with high school writing, it seems to me, is that much of it is boring (The Lonely Voyage of Vasco da Gama) or lame (Why I Love Gravity in 500 to 750 words) or pointlessly self-evident (In the book THE TIME MACHINE, name the apparatus the hero invents). There’s so much more to writing than that.
Writing is a joy.
Writing is a thrill.
Writing is a big, exciting adventure!
Oops, but writing is also a big, scary problem.
Why? Because any time writers write, they face two tough challenges:
1) “I don’t know how to do this.”
B) “It might not be any good.”
And by the way, these problems are not limited to new writers or young writers. Every writer, from you to me to Charles Frickin’ Dickens, has at one time or another wondered, How can I make this work? and Gosh, what if I can’t? But what if you could enjoy the big, thrilling adventure without wiping out against the big, scary problem. What if…
A) You knew how to do stuff, and
2) You didn’t care if it was good?
Sounds impossible? Let’s find out – and let’s start really small. [Read more…]