Last week we heard from another happy Write2Ignite! 2012 attendee. It’s a joy to read these, so, keep them coming!
“Whatever you do , work at it with all your heart…” Colossians 3:23
This year, I’m teaching two creative writing classes at our homeschool co-op. The first class is geared towards middle schoolers and is designed to get their descriptive juices flowing. We talk about choosing their words so carefully that the reader will “see” exactly what they’re trying to convey. We cover a lot of grammar in that class, too.
The second class is intended more for high school students, and as part of their coursework, they all signed up for National Novel Writing Month. In the young writer’s program, teachers (or parents) can set the word count for their students, so instead of the 50,000 word goal, I chose 10,000 words. The bonus for the educator: I could sign up to write just 10,000 words, too.
This was our first year trying this as a group. At first the kids were a little apprehensive – write a novel? Forget about the one-month deadline – write a novel??? So all during the month of October, we went through the workbook NaNoWriMo has online. And as we did, you could just hear all those gears (including mine!) turning. Each week they developed a different aspect of their novels, and each week they had more and more to share.
Then came the big day.
November 1 everyone began writing, and we logged in our word counts as we went. At the beginning of each weekly class meeting, we updated each other on how things were progressing, how our novels were changing, how we hoped to get them done in time. Our last class in November was held two days before the deadline, and everyone was so excited. I still had a ways to go to meet my word count, as did a couple of the kids, but we were all determined.
And…we did it!
And it was SO much fun! The following week we had a party with the rest of the co-op students celebrating their accomplishment. And we’re not done yet! My students are currently in the process of revising their novels, and we’re going to get them printed before the end of the school year.
If you have teens in your life, consider bringing them along with you on your writing journey. Set similar writing goals, share your ideas with one another, and attend conferences like Write2Ignite! together. As often happens when you “travel along” with a teen, you’ll probably find it to be an exciting and memorable adventure!
After carrying four children, only one of whom weighed less than eight pounds at birth (one was nine pounds), it’s reasonable to assume that I have my share of stretch marks. And fortunately for the rest of the world, I keep them covered up. J But over the past few years, I’ve stretched in other ways as well — positive ways, ways that God has orchestrated to prepare me to do whatever it is He has for me to do.
One of those ways has involved public speaking. By nature, I’m a rather shy person; I used to stand in the check out line and hope no one spoke to me. In high school and college, I studied hard and knew the answers, but when the teacher asked a question, I just sat there in silence. As a grown woman, I dreaded even making announcements in church, let alone standing up to share a testimony.
And then it began. In 2008, I was asked to be a workshop speaker at our regional SCBWI conference. The following year, I presented a workshop at North Greenville University. I then taught classes at a Children’s Museum and local library. I could feel myself stretching and growing, and I was still okay. That is, until I was called on last year to do a live television interview for Write2Ignite.
I was so nervous. I wrote out possible questions with my answers, and all during the day of the interview I practiced saying them. I had butterflies, knots, you name it in my stomach, but I was determined to do it. Boy, could I feel the stretching!
My husband was going to be a little late getting home that evening, so I was leaving my teenage son in charge for a couple of hours. I gave all the children instructions as I worked to get ready. Then, just as I was about to go, they all started arguing with each other. I cringed. I was now so nervous about the interview that I couldn’t take it.
“Stop it! Stop it!” I hollered. “I can’t do this right now! If you all are going to fight, I can’t leave you here. And now look! I just put on makeup, and it’s all going to wash away when I cry!”
My twelve-year-old daughter looked at me, her face completely calm. “Don’t worry, Mom. Remember, you put on that clear mascara? It’s fine.”
What could I do? I pulled myself together and headed out the door. And with a lot of help from agent Les Stobbe, the interview was a success.
Now I don’t know that God will ever call me to do a lot of public speaking. But I do know that He takes us just one step at a time. And sometimes, those steps can be big ones — ones that pull us out of our comfort zone.
So, next time someone says you’re stretch marks are showing, it may not be a bad thing after all!