Two weeks ago I felt more like I writer than I have in years.
A friend of mine asked if I’d be willing to FaceTime into her 3rd grade classroom to answer some questions about writing.
“Hey! My kids in class are writing paragraphs on the obstacles that children face to access books and learning around the world. They are expected to revise and edit their work multiple times and are really reluctant to keep going back and changing things.
I was wondering if we could FaceTime you some day soon and you could just talk a few minutes about the importance of The First Draft, is just getting all the ideas out… then speak on how many times you reread and change things to make them better ? It can just be a couple minutes of encouraging words from a real author and writer to say writing isn’t a short process!
Would you believe even that scared me. Am I writer? I’m not an author. Authors have things that have been published. I haven’t had something published really. I mean, I’ve written near 300 blogs posts in 5 years. Does that count. Ok, well maybe there were a couple times my friends with other blogs let me post on their blog.
Would you believe the mental gymnastics my mind was doing? It’s amazing that even in places I find most joy, like writing, how I can disqualify myself before I even have the chance to say yes.
I said yes. And it was a real joy to hear from these kiddos questions like…
1. Why do you like to write? Do you write narrative non-fiction, fiction, opinion pieces, or non-fiction.
2. How many times do you reread you writing? Can you tell us a little bit what that looks like? Do you read the stuff you write out loud?
3. Do you ever make silly mistakes and your writing doesn’t make sense? Do you have to fix spelling or word choice?
4. How do you use perseverance in your writing process?
…and the questions just kept coming. Hands shooting up across the room. The interesting part for me was, these kids ask pretty much the same questions we as writers ask ourselves most days we sit down to type.
I’m really am enjoying the writing process. It’s not without challenge though. Most days feels like joy and accomplishment. Other days feel like pulling teeth. And I’m realizing the hard work is just about to start. I’m 71% into a first draft manuscript, having to come up with material at this point I haven’t written before. Stories from The Race or life I’ve never told in a public writing format.
That feels…um…vulnerable. And like I can’t cheat off the homework I’ve done before. Sometimes what I write feels like crap, and other times it feels like gold. Most likely though, my crap is closer to gold, and my gold closer to crap. It evens out. Writing is not that unlike looking over a ledge wondering if you have what it takes, or what may lie on the side, or what happens if I fall.
I’m learning from my buddy Joe Bunting to, “write through the mess. Write through poor grammar and awkward tense changes and switches in point of view. Keep writing even when you know what you’re writing is worthless. It’s not about good or bad right now. That comes later. Just keep writing.”
So that’s my goal and where I’m at in the process. To keep writing. And who knows? Maybe I’ll be interviewed by more kids in the years to come. I wouldn’t mind doing that kind of interview again. Thanks for taking the time to follow along team.
Here’s some parting inspiration from my good friend Kermit when it comes to dreaming.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Some day we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.
You tell em Kermy! Dream on you dreamers you!