One of my favorite parts of being an author is visiting schools and classrooms, and one of my favorite parts of visiting schools and classrooms is getting to meet so many young writers. I always let teachers and librarians know that I am up for sticking around after my presentation/Q&A in order to host a group workshop or meet one-on-one to critique and discuss kids’ work. It’s so inspiring to meet young people passionate about books and the written word, and if I can do anything at all to help make them better, more confident storytellers and communicators, I want to do so.
The only bad part about all of this is that I never have enough time to really get to know a writer, and so can offer no more than a little bit of assistance and advice. Only so much can get accomplished in a single group workshop, and when I do one-on-one meetings, I have to keep them short so I don’t leave any kids out. I’ve been wondering for a while now how I could go about changing this, how I might figure out a way to work with and help young writers in a more long-term, sustained manner – and I think I’ve finally got it. Announcing:
Starting today, I will accept (very short) applications from young writers between the ages of 9 and 14 to join me on a writing journey. I am looking for a kid who is passionate about writing and who wants to continue to learn and grow as a storyteller. What I am offering is to work closely with this one young writer on a large-scale project – a novel, a memoir, a collection of short stories – and serve in any capacity they see fit. I can remain an advisor/editor, or join them as more of a co-author. And my role can, of course, change as the process moves along. Basically, the kid will make the decisions, not me.
Communication between the young writer and myself can be conducted however they (and their parent(s) and/or teacher(s)) choose. E-mail, phone calls, Skype meetings – any or all of the above. My goal is to help a young writer complete the project they’ve envisioned, and to celebrate the highs and support them through the lows involved in such an undertaking. At the end of the process, I will cover the costs to get a certain number of copies of the book printed and bound so that the young writer can experience the thrill of holding a book they wrote in their hands, and also so that they can share their story or stories with others (online e-book publishing options can also be explored).
I will start accepting applications immediately, and will continue to do so through January 31, 2018. I haven’t set a timeline or mapped out any specific schedule for this project, as that will need to be worked out once a young writer is selected, and all of it will depend on their schedule (as well, of course, as mine). My hope is that any kid interested in submitting an application will have a parent or teacher “sponsor” to help facilitate and schedule contact between myself and their child or student. This sponsor could then remain as actively involved as they deem necessary and appropriate.