I recently received an Email from Bob Clary of Webucator, requesting my participation in the "Teach Your Talent" Project.
Flattered of course, I agreed to contribute by penning today's post. I hope you enjoy it.
As I believe it is virtually impossible to teach all the complexities of writing in a singular session, I opted instead to provide "instruction" in the way of a personal letter to future writers.
Whatever your level, I hope that it inspires you and moves you to "the head of the class."
Dear Future Writers:
Many moons ago, a Chinese quote stated: “May you live in interesting times.”
It seems prophetic in a way, when we consider the exciting dynamics that shape today’s culture.
It’s the 21st Century and these are indeed “exciting” times. Like Star Trek travelers, “we have dared to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
Think about it. The Internet and social media have revolutionized the way we communicate and connect. We are privileged to be able to learn from and interact with people across the globe through new technology, interactive mediums, and even “Tweets” from your “Peeps.”
We’ve witnessed a Black man in the White House, traditional marriage is being redefined, and we’ve embraced many “firsts” in the way of education and health reform.
What a wonderful time to be a writer! Everything is changing and evolving.
What does this mean for you? As a writer, this amazing era provides a smorgasbord in the way of food for thought. There are endless opportunities to "sample," experiment, examine... to create, to grow.
To chronicle what you see, what you hope for, and what you would like others to see through your life’s “lenses.”
- Keep a journal and keep it with you. You never know when or where inspiration may hit you.
- Remember what your English teacher taught you; but don’t be afraid to break a few rules. e.e. Cummings did.
- Study the “old greats” (Twain, Shakespeare, Tolstoy), as well as your contemporaries. The wedding tradition of “something old, something new” definitely applies in writing.
- Believe in yourself. Writers have to deal with criticism on an ongoing basis--from readers, editors, reviewers; self-confidence is a must, if you are to go the distance.
- Read. How are you to know how to engage an audience, spin a phrase, or evoke emotion, if you have not experienced it first-hand? Reading sparks the imagination and feeds the soul.
- Pay it forward. When you make it, (and no doubt you will), take the time to nurture the talent and dreams of others who seek to follow in your footsteps.
And last but not least, create with care. Your words are as much a part of your legacy as your Sunday dinners. They have the potential of impacting thousands of people for many years to come. Future generations may indeed be studying your work in a classroom--along with other literary greats. You just never know…
Jennifer Brown Banks
This post is dedicated to Bonita Bennett, of Harbon Publishing; for taking the time to make a difference in my career many moons ago.