Encouring Writers of All Ages

Today I attended the KDL Grand Rapids Writers Conference, 90 minute’s drive north. I’ve attended this conference twice before, once as a speaker. Not quite sure why I was going since it’s usually for unpublished or one-book-published folk. But I had the day free, and it was a writers conference!

After registration, I carefully picked my seat…because I could. I sat in front of a young girl and her mother. I turned first to the girl and asked, “Are you the writer?” (Nailed it!) A 10-year-old who has finished her first book (of four chapters), “and no one will publish it.” “It takes a while,” I tried to assure her. I found out she had a choice of auditioning for a musical or attending this writers conference. Bless the dedicated heart of a kid choosing the writers conference.

The first speaker was an author who spoke about writing to a daily word count and to have a hook, either provocative or violent. I wanted to turn around to the one person under 18 in the crowd, shake my head, and whisper, “Not for every book.” I didn’t.

One of the speakers said that she wrote 30 books only seven of them have been published and that he had over 100 rejections for his first novel.

During the break between the first three and last three speakers, and before she decided to leave, I encouraged her to continue writing, telling her that when I was her age I used to write stories about my friends and they were very interested in reading of our fictional adventures. I didn’t say, “And none of them got published either.” I assured her once again that “it takes a while.”

If I was unsure before going there today of why I attended that conference, I now think I know why. It was to encourage a 10-year-old writer.

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