Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Budding Author

I just got back from doing a library presentation at Pleasant Grove, Utah and there's this kid who I just have to tell you about.

This library does a Tuesday night book event for younger children. I talked about Farm Girl, two other authors spoke about their books, and the librarian interspersed it with bits about being an author, since the theme was "Author Night." (She was incredible btw, integrating what we said with her comments while keeping it all brief,  interesting and on topic.)

So afterwards a boy (about 4th grade I'd guess) comes up to me like he wants to say something. And I say, "Have fun reading books!"

His response: "You mean writing them!" And he proceeds to tell me about a story he's writing about a magic train-- "I'm on chapter three!"

His little brother pipes up, "He already published a book when he was only six!"

The mom explains it's the one where you send off an illustrated story and this company binds it for you. (I remember when my kids were in grade school their teachers did that for them. So fun and exciting!)

I asked the young writer his name and he gave me first, middle and last. I'll remember it. One day I hope to see that name on a book cover.

How old were you when you first started writing? When you knew you wanted to be an author someday?







43 comments:

  1. I'm expecting that my daughter will have a book deal before me...She ahs great ideas, but won't let me look at her writing...Did I mention she was brilliant?

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  2. It's great to see kids being creative and productive rather than just sitting there and letting TV or video games do all their thinking for them.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  3. I love this post, Karen. My eleven-year-old is writing a novel this summer. It's so much fun to see her scribbling away in her notebook. :o)

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  4. I love that he is doing that already, we will probably all be reading his books some day.

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  5. I was drawing books before I could write. :P

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  6. Oh what a lovely story!! That's just so sweet - I wish this little boy all the best with his writing career! What a sweetie!

    I guess I was about 12/13 when I started writing stories - it got more prolific as I hit the teenage angst years! LOL!

    Take care
    x

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  7. I was very young. But the earliest I remember was fifth grade and I won a contest with a story my teacher had sent in. Before that I just liked to write stories, after that I wanted to be published.

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  8. I love this story! I've always written, but I never seriously thought about trying to get published until very recently :)

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  9. Interesting how most of us respond that we were very young. Do all kids dabble in writing at a young age, or just those who end up being authors one day?

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  10. My first book was when I was 5. I folded construction paper in half, hole punched the sides and threaded yarn through the side. It read something like, "the fat cat sat on the mat" or some nonsense.

    I wrote constantly through my teens. I stopped because I realized how much WORK went into a book and I wasn't ready to put that much effort in.

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  11. Some kids are natural storytellers. I've worked with elementary students for several years and specific kids stand out from what is now hundreds as good writers. Sure they know where periods and capitals go, and they even use sentence variety. Beyond that, though, they just get using tone, voice, and everything we talk about as adult writers everyday. Love it! Thanks for sharing this story.

    Marissa

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  12. I think JK Rowling deserves a Nobel Prize for making books cool again!

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  13. Great post. I think I was about 12 or 13 when I was really encouraged. It was at this time that I thought that being a writer was what I wanted to do.

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  14. Great story! I was writing short stories around 5 and 6, but I remember definitively sitting down at age 9 and starting a novel. And I haven't stopped since.

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  15. My first story was written when I was in third grade. We had an assignment to make up a silly story with our spelling words. I wrote about a detective bunny solving a difficult mystery. My teacher was so impressed that she read it in class--the only story read in class. When that happened, I knew I wanted to be an author!

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  16. so darn cute!
    and i love how his brother is already his biggest fan!

    i realized in second grade that i wrote differently than my friends and classmates, and i have been writing off and on since.

    but i didn't truly decide i wanted to be an author until seventh grade.

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  17. Thats wonderful - What motivation!
    As for me I was 36 before I discovered I wanted to be a writer! I get comfort from Thoreaux's quote about standing up to live before sitting down to write!

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  18. That's cool. Guess I was in my teens. Never seriously thought about being an author until a couple years ago, though.

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  19. I received a manual typewriter as Christmas gift when I was four or five. My first story was called, The Runaway Donut. Sadly, the typewriter was lost in one of many moves. But the urge to peck the keys lives on. :)

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  20. Stacy, The Runaway Donut? Awesome title!! I'd read that book!

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  21. Aw that is the cutest thing! Children are so smart sometimes! I agree with you, it's one you'll remember forever and when you see it on the shelves you'll chuckle and remember how cute he was and how much he wanted to be a writer.

    I guess I'm a little bit behind in the "I want to be a writer" phase, it just started last year, so I'm very much a newbie, but I realized deep down inside it's something that I always new!

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  22. How fun! I love kids loving to write. One of my daughter's friends is doing the BuNoWriMo with us--she turns 15 this weekend and it is her second WriMo. I am TOTALLY impressed.

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  23. Probably when I started dictating absolutely interminable stories to my mother at weekends. No wonder she bought me so many workbooks so that I could learn to write on my own! :)

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  24. hampshireflyer, Supporting moms are the best! And supporting husbands, kids...

    (and little brothers-- glad you caught that Mi, I thought it was adorable.)

    Hart, Agents are looking for young authors, the younger the better for YA. It's like modeling, or gymnastics lol. So this girl may end up with a contract on her hands!

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  25. I love this question, because I love finding other people who always knew writing was their "thing." I wrote my first book when I was three. My mom wrote the words I told her to write, and I drew the pictures. I wrote in my diary when I was seven that I wanted to be a writer and a mom when I grew up. It's fun living my dream now, even though I'm not published. (Actually, not being published kind of takes the pressure off!) :)

    Amy

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  26. When I was in like third grade I wrote a novel. It had a nice cover and inside, on paragraph. My MC died in the one paragraph, LOL!

    I didn't really start writing in earnest until one year ago. I finally realized I should try!

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  27. Lydia, that is so cute! My first stories all ended with the MC waking up from a dream lol!

    Amy, cool way to look at being unpublished-- no pressure! I love it.

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  28. I am constantly amazed by kids today. What a cutie!

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  29. That is adorable! Thanks for sharing this fun story. I think I was around 10 when I started writing. I wrote horrible poems for everyone with a pulse. I still have them in a scrapbook!

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  30. It was about four years ago. I was so old, I'd rather not put a figure to it! I was put off writing at school because I wasn't mature enough to write what the others in my class were writing.

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  31. well, I began writing when I was a teen- around fourteen or so. I didn't really consider writing as a career until I'd been a stay at home mom for a while and picked up writing again as a way to escape when I ran out of books to read. THen it just occured to me one day 'Hey! I love this- if I could do this and get PAID- I'd be one satisfied lady'

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  32. Aww, that's really cute. I guess I began writing when I was 9. I began writing diaries and little stories. This turned into longer essays on just about everything when I was 11/12. I remember when I was 7 I wanted to be an artist, I guess a writer isn't too far away from that!

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  33. Whoa, how impressive. I love hearing stories like that!

    I really can't remember when I started writing - I just always have! I loved scribbling down poems and making up little stories. There's something so joyous in writing just because!

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  34. I started in 6th grade but never went anywhere with it. I figured my talent was music, which it was. I didn't realize I could be a great writer too. Wish I would have figured that out sooner!

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  35. I starting writing in early grade school. It was mostly a running journal (written on anything) about my crazy childhood. You know how strange my life was, so you know I had a lot...

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  36. I've kept a personal journal since age 8. I'm now filling journal #42. Yeah, I write a little. :)

    PS: Libraries rock. Are you a Librarian, too? (I am!)

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  37. Since early on, Grade 4. I wrote the play for our Grade 6 concert. In highschool I would write these funny mystery stories with my best friend and I as the detectives--Duran Duran was in it too! (Simon Le Bon got to be my 'boyfriend').

    I've always been a writer. Best fun ever!

    Julie Johnson
    busywriting.wordpress.com

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  38. I just wrote a post about when I wanted to be a writer. It took me a long time. I thought writers were up there with basketball players and pop stars - out of my realm of talent.

    Your story is so sweet.

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  39. Theresa, yes your post was so awesome. I RT'd it.

    Julie, and it's clear from your blog that you are an artist as well. That's a most coveted combination.

    Terresa, I'm not a librarian but I appreciate a good one :)

    Pat, Who knows but what the writing saved you?

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  40. This was a great post. Thanks for your funny comment.

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  41. I don't think I was nearly as cute at that little boy since I was about...28 or so? lol

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  42. I've always loved reading. Thought I'd try writing two years ago. Somehow, I just can't stop! :D I'm so glad I found your blog, by the way. It's lovely!!!

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