Monday, September 23, 2013

When I Was a Kid

When I was a kid, I walked 3 miles to school...just kidding! People often ask me how I got started writing, so I thought I'd talk about that today and give some tips on how to encourage your children's interest in the subject.

My academic career got off to a rough start. One of my first teachers slapped a "slow learner" label on me and sent me on that track. Fortunately, my third grade teacher didn't buy into the tag, and I was moved into a more advanced class.

It wasn't until the fifth grade that a teacher, Mrs. Dowd, recognized my potential and did some intense work with me. She helped me exceed my reading grade level, and I was never behind from that time forward. Reading became an exciting adventure, and seeing me with my nose stuck in a book became a normal occurrence.

The jump from reader to writer was a natural progression. Throughout the years, I dabbled in the craft and wrote skits, pieces for children's Christmas programs, Sunday School Curriculum, and Bible Studies. My late husband urged me to seek publication, which led to publishing credits in the non-fiction market. In 2005, I took a leap of faith into the fiction area. The rest, as they say, is history.

I wish the resources available today would have been around when I was a kid. The Internet provides many opportunities for youngsters interested in writing. Here are a few ideas to nurture their budding talent:

1) Find books that match their interests, and keep them well supplied with reading material. I was interested in ballerinas, nurses, and series books. My mother took me to the library often and purchased books for gifts.

2)  You can find online writing courses for children. My fellow Helping Hands Press author, Karen E. Lange, teaches several of these on various levels.

3)  The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference offers a writing track for teens called, "Teens Write." You can check out the conference here.

Even if your child doesn't become a writer, the experience will help them with their other studies. Who knows? They might become the next Francine Rivers or Ted Dekker.

Writers:  Do you see signs your kids may want to follow in your footsteps? How do you aid them in their writing journey?

Readers: Please share how you encourage the youngsters in your life to read.


Karen Lange said...

These are great ideas, Susan! There are many simple and painless ways parents can encourage their children to read and write.

Never would have guessed that you were labeled as such! My, how wrong they were! So glad other teachers saw your great potential. :)

Thanks for the shout out!


Loree Huebner said...

My kids are older. Two seem to be interested in writing. I think they will write someday. I encourage them to write everyday. Even if it's just a few paragraphs of ideas.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. I don't have kids, but am always happy to pass on book tokens - so they get a chance to chose books etc ..

Writing comes around when it comes around ... rather late in life for me ..

Interesting to hear your process - and I get quite a lot of thought processes in the car, or when I'm walking i.e. when it's quiet and I can mull things through ..

Cheers Hilary

Unknown said...

My husband and I are big readers, so we always encourage our children to read often. Both my children have shown interest in writing, and I encourage them in that as well.
The local writers guild here just recently partnered with the school district to provide a free one day conference for 6th-12th graders, and I've been involved with both programs. The next one is this October and I'm pretty excited about it! The intent is to make this an annual conference where students can interact with authors. My son thoroughly enjoyed attending.