Archives for posts with tag: young

From the day you enter high school, clutching your bookbag in homeroom, all anyone can talk about is college admissions.  Guidance counselors, teachers, that annoying teacher’s pet—everyone is obsessed with getting into the best college and the all-powerful resume you need to get there.

Most students panic and immediately run for student council, join the Debate team, and sacrifice their Saturdays to Habitat builds.  Whenever they can spare a free moment, they’re tutoring underprivileged ESL students or squeezing in French Club meetings.  The kids who like to write might add to this list the school paper or literary magazine.   And they end up being remarkable at none of these things.

Take my disastrous freshman year, for example.  I ran for student council and spent every Tuesday listening to the student body president, a pretty pageant-girl type, talk about her weekends; I tutored local elementary school students for fewer hours a week than it took to get to the tutoring center; I jumped onto my class’s Relay for Life teaTo Do'sm and, in a desperate time crunch, donated $100 of my own money.  None of that is particularly impressive, none of that mattered on my college applications, but it managed to suck away almost all of my time and energy from writing.  In fact, all I wrote at the time was terrible, post-midnight poetry—the kind of stuff I cringe reading now.

See, here’s the thing about writing:  Read the rest of this entry »

2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 17Earlier this year, my school’s writing club was lucky enough to be visited by the Davidson poet Allison Elrod (http://www.charlottewritersclub.org/allison_elrod).  Her savviest piece of advice?  That writers set their writing free in the world—to literary journals, contests, publishers.  People outside of your orbit.  People who know what they’re doing.

“It’s a slow process,” she said.  “But eventually those impersonal thanks but no thanks will evolve into personalized rejections—“Dear Mrs. Elrod, Thanks but no thanks—into maybe not these, but how about some others? Until one day your work is accepted somewhere.  Anywhere.”

“And that,” she added, “is a good feeling.

It’s interesting advice, especially to young writers.  Read the rest of this entry »

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