It was probably about fifteen years ago that I first started coaching young writers. I still remember their earnest efforts at storytelling, their frustration when they couldn’t quite paint pictures with their words they way they’d wanted to, their elation when it came out right. I remember it well, because it so perfectly mirrored the ups and downs of my own writing. I drew on my memories of being a young writer and helped the children in my care to cultivate their natural talents. And in helping the children to tell their stories, I learned a lot about how to tell my own.
Since my dream of being a published writer has materialized, the time feels right for me to harvest some of the wisdom that the children taught me, and pass it on to the parents and caregivers of the new generation of young writers. With that in mind, last week I had the pleasure of giving a mini-workshop called “Helping Your Child Find the ‘Inner Writer’” at the PTA meeting of my alma mater, Chesapeake Academy.
Now, this was my first writing workshop, and to be honest I wasn’t sure how it would go. But I don’t think I’m overstating to say that a good time was had by all. We talked about five things that parents can do to help children cultivate their talents and pursue their writing dreams. The hour was rife with laughter and the brisk exchange of ideas, stories, and fun. (More of the specific content will be available soon on the Vanilla Heart Publishing’s Author Blog: http://vhpauthorblog.blogspot.com/ .) The evening was a total joy, and all that’s left for me to do now is set up more workshops!
A question for my fellow writers and lovers of writing: What advice would you give to a child who said, “When I grow up, I want to be a writer!”?
A question for parents: What would be the best and worst things about your child taking up writing as a career?