By James Sajo
This past week I went to the local middle school/high school to meet with a group of kids interested in writing. I’ve made this trip four or five years in a row now, and am always charged up by the enthusiasm and interest they have. Once they got beyond “How much money do you make as a writer?” (and they don’t seem intimidated by the paltry sum it is) we engaged in cool discussions.
We talked about why it’s important to write well and what can they do to get better at it. They were curious about my daily schedule and how to be disciplined enough to stay focused on the task (it seems focus is an issue with teenagers – who knew?).
Next, we did an active writing exercise, substituting words and phrases to a painfully boring sentence to make it come alive with vivid descriptions and compelling verbs.
They did seem concerned at how frequently a writer is told “no” by agents or publishers or editors (this writer is, anyway). I asked them if they get back up when they fall down, and they got it.
I left them with two pieces of advice on being a better writer: read more and write more.