Ten writers for children. All with something to say.
Mentee or mentor?
Once I had my first book published, I thought I knew it all. Why should I take writing classes or go to workshops? Those things were for folks who couldn't get published. What a mistaken attitude I had...and one that slowed my writing career by years.
One of the smartest things I ever did was to sign up for a children's writing class taught by Judy Delton at the Loft Literary Center. This was years after my first book was published, and boy did I discover that I didn't "know it all" like I had thought. Judy's class was good for me for many reasons. She gave me honest, sometimes painfully blunt, feedback on my work, which helped me grow considerably as a writer. She taught me the value of regularly producing new work. And she brought me in contact with a community of other writers who have become good friends. Without Judy's encouragement, I would have never had my first novel, Absolutely, Positively Not, published, and I'm proud I was able to dedicate the book to her.
This past year I was asked to be the teacher for a master picture book writing class hosted by the Loft, the same writing center where I first met Judy. Although I've taught writing to children for many years, my initial reaction to this offer was "No way! What could I possibly teach other adults?" But as I get older I'm getting braver at stretching myself, so reluctantly I agreed. The experience was wonderful. Just like Stephanie said in her previous post, I learned so much as I read and critiqued the work of the participants in this class. And to my pleasure, I discovered that I did have plenty of things to say to adult writers, many of them things I learned from my mentor, Judy. I think she would have been happy with this circle.