Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why Another Writing Blog?

There are so many great writing blogs out there by authors, agents, and editors... so why am I adding my own voice into the vast ocean of online writing?

I have been thinking of writing a blog on my writing for a while. As I become a published author and my books enter the marketplace, I want to have a greater presence on the web where my readers can interact with me more. I want to be able to discuss what I am working on and where my ideas come from. But even more, I wanted to have a place where I can share what I am learning as a writer.

I believe that all great writers get better at their craft. I know that in the time that I have been developing ideas, nurturing them, and writing, I have grown in my knowledge and ability. Often I will have an insight and want to share it. That's one of the great things about teaching middle school Communication Arts. I have the privilege of working with students and showing them ways to make writing easier and more fun. I have seen many students go from having an apathetic or negative attitude toward writing to being excited about it. I explain to them that yes, writing is hard, but it's also very rewarding. To take that small, seed idea, maybe one sentence on a piece of paper or an image that flashes through your mind's eye, and then turn it into a fully-developed story to share with others is exciting.

That's why, after a lot of thought, I've decided to title this blog "Attacking Ideas 101." The title is both active and passive. You can attack the ideas as they come to you, but the ideas are also attacking you, and if you know how to harness them, the possibilities are endless.

Being a teacher has taught me that I am not the only one doing the teaching. I am also learning, as my students teach me. They are part of the Young Adult audience that I am writing for, and they have taught me what works and what doesn't. They've shown me where stories resonate and where they can fall flat. The Young Adult audience is one of the more difficult audiences to write for. To capture their voice, their interests, and their needs is not easy. But it is rewarding. One of my favorite memories is of a former student who read a draft of one of my novels. I had actually given it to her friend, but she stole it and read it. The thing is, I knew this student the year before, even though I never had her in my class. I do, however, remember that she didn't like to read, and could never find a book that resonated with her. I will never forget how she discussed my manuscript with me, and how her friends said she was reading it in class, crying at one point. Something resonated with her, and that is what I want to do with all of my writing.

And so here we are, at the beginning of this blog. As I attack the ideas that come flying at me, writing them down in my notebook or on index cards or any scrap of paper or napkin I have on hand, I plan to use this blog to discuss the techniques I have found to attack them. I'm not an expert; I'm a learner. And what I learn, I want to share.

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