What I have learned about being a Novelist — 3

I’m stalled on my manuscript just now—I know, this is not what you want to hear! So I thought I’d take a short break and post some more sage advice from my high school writing students.

Tom C. Fordil, bless him, in ten short minutes summed up my exact struggle!

Below are his thoughts on the writing life. Impressive stuff!

 
 

I learned many things this year in Creative Writing. I went through experiences that were both encouraging and sometimes difficult.

First, I learned that writing is not easy. You can try as hard as you like, but it will never be easy to break through that barrier between your mind and the paper or screen. Once you’ve broken it, though, words might flow. Until the wall rebuilds itself.

Tom C. Fordil

Also, I’ve discovered that you always need to rewrite. You have to put something down on the page. You can fix it later, but get something down first. Most of the time, the first stuff you write will be crummy.

Finally, I learned that it can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. You can get all your anger, frustration, sadness, and wit down on paper. Where everyone can read it … but no one can see.

Want more? Check these out.
What I have learned about being a Novelist — 1
What I have learned about being a Novelist — 2

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8 thoughts on “What I have learned about being a Novelist — 3

  1. Gayle Mills

    “Where everyone can read it … but no one can see.” How old is this kid — 16 going on 40? I am so impressed with his maturity. Gee, he must have had a great teacher this year. Terrific job — both of you!

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  2. Laura Hile Post author

    I know, Gayle, I know. That comment was a stunner.

    These are the bright students—sophomores, who are ahead in their English work, but not yet able to take College Prep Writing. Lucky me! (Luck, nothing. Blessed me!)

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    1. Gayle Mills

      And they have been blessed to have you. They will never forget this experience, Laura. And they will benefit from it for years to come. Almost every professional career requires that one be able to express himself on paper. What a valuable learning experience this has been for them!

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  3. Gayle Mills

    You know, I’m thinking maybe you could write this up as a grant application and seek out some foundation money. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation might be a good place to start.

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    1. Robin Helm

      You should definitely follow up on the grant idea. I got a small one for elementary music last semester, and I was able to buy 4 sets of children’s handbells with music and chord charts.

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      1. Laura Hile Post author

        Robin and Gayle, I will think about this. A totally new idea, applying for a grant! I’m so used to teaching with scrounged-from-the-internet materials that buying something new, on purpose, seems revolutionary.

        One of these days I’ll post pictures of my custom-made “textbook,” It’s kind of a riot, being a composition book with material taped in weekly. I share the things that inspire me as a writer (quotations, writing exercises, articles) and my students seem to like their books. And, more importantly, they keep them.

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        1. Gayle Mills

          The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation looks for educational ideas and practices that work. They have been behind the development of khanacademy.org. You obviously have developed a writing program that works. It’s original with you. It’s worth pursuing the idea of a grant. I’ll keep my eyes open, too, to foundation grants that we’re invited to pursue. Who knows? You could find yourself being the next internet success.

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  4. Robin Helm

    I love this! You and your students are mutually blessed. They are fortunate to have you, and you are so lucky to have been allowed to teach them. I remember telling a super-bright, perfectionist, procrastinating student the same thing you must have told your class – “Just slap something down on the paper! Work on it after the first draft.” Those were wonderful days.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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