What is a writing lesson that you learned in school?
You always hear stories of how authors were once told by a heartless teacher that their writing was no good. Thinking back to my own school days, I don’t think I ever really experienced that. (Not because I was such a gifted writer at a tender age. Ha! Some of my poetry will show you that I’m no Shakespeare!)
I had one “heartless” teacher who did even worse. It was an English Writer’s Craft class, and he made us read our stories …
And not only that, but the other students then had to talk about it. And give feedback. While I was there in the room. (I told you the teacher was heartless!)
My short story was about a boy and his elderly neighbor lady going up the staircase in their apartment building. (I can’t remember why they didn’t take the elevator or any of the other details!) I was soooo nervous about what the other students would think. I mean, sure the teacher would be encouraging, even when he did point out my weaknesses. But what about the students? They wrote pieces that were far edgier and way cooler than mine!
But, I did it. Dear reader, I read it. Out. Loud. I survived. And then, I sat back while the class discussed my story.
And you know what? Nobody scoffed at it. The other students began dissecting it … like it was a real story (you know, like the stories we read by published authors). They went into how the staircase was symbolism for a friendship on the rise (or something like that). And I was like: “Really? Hmm. That’s interesting.” (And yes, I wrote that piece.)
So, I guess the lesson I learned that day is that it’s okay to write what you write.
I’m not even sure that was the teacher’s intent, but that’s what is sticking with me all these years later. And even though I still hate reading my stories out loud to an audience, I’m thankful for that teacher who made me do it. It helped me OWN my writing and be who I am. And write what I write.
Do you have a writing lesson you’d like to share? Let me hear it in the comments.
#WriterFriendsChallenge is a monthly challenge for writers hosted @susanleighneedham & @thatsarahelynn on Instagram.