I came late to writing. I was not one of those kids, constantly scribbling ideas on pieces of paper. I was a reader. I read everything from science textbooks to the classics, from modern Nobel winners to the best of pulp fiction. As I read more and more, I realized that I was largely reading the same stories over and over. I decided to try writing myself. At least, that’s what I remember. It turned out that I was wrong. Recently, I came across some things that I wrote in middle school. I had been writing as a young adult. It was a welcome revelation. I could now join the ranks of writers who always wrote. But I digress.
I took a class on novel writing at the Bethesda Writer’s Center, as well as joining The Writer’s Way, a writing group that taught writing through positive critique. Both were wonderful experiences for a beginning writer. The class taught me how to write and the Writer’s Way showed me what was good about my writing.
Then, when I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland for a stretch, I joined a writers group called The Edinburgh Creative Writers Club. This group was lead by writers, both published and unpublished, who gave positive critique on how to improve one’s writing. Eventually, I ended up leading this group. I learned how to manage a writer’s group so that everyone was heard and supported, and even critiqued, in a positive way. A year later, back in the States, using the skills I gained in Edinburgh, I created my own group, The Washington Creative Writers Club.
The group succeeded more than I could have imagined. Over two years it grew from four writers a week, to twenty and over. I still felt something was missing.
How could I transform what I loved doing for fun into something that made a living, and a difference, at the same time?
Gradually, I began talking to friends who had kids and what I heard was that their children loved writing stories but needed encouragement. I began helping kids where I could. I’d read a story here, help with an essay there.
Nothing major, just my friends’ children. One of the kids I helped ended up getting an A on an assignment. A series of small steps, and a few conversations later, and here we are. Send your Inkreadable Kids to my classes and let the adventure begin!