School Visits!

Why It's Important for Authors to Visit Schools

description

When I was an elementary school student, I read mostly non-fiction because I loved to learn facts. But, because I rarely picked up a fiction book, the ones I did read left an impact on me and greatly influenced my writing.

Recently, I had the privilege to visit yet another school in our community. The reason I encourage authors to visit schools in their community, is because you can leave a lasting impact on the students you read to.

How?

When I was a kid, sitting in that elementary school library, all those books had authors yet those authors were like historical figures to me. They existed but were never seen. Their books were the only evidence of their existence. I would have loved to have met one of them and asked them questions about why they write, what it takes to write a book, and if I could do it, too.

Make Connections

The main thing you can do by visiting a school is make connections to potential readers. Even if you write for adults, you can connect to readers who, hopefully, one day, will be adult readers of your genre!

Sharing your story to publication reveals to those students that there is a process to writing a book, but it is one with a finish line...and a final product (much like a medal at the end of a race) that is your book!

When I told my writing story to the students this week, they were astonished. They didn't realize that writing a book takes time...in my case, over twenty years. But I related my writing process to the process they had been taught in school:

-brainstorm
-outline
-rough draft
-edit/revise
-final draft

In doing this, they immediately connected with me. "When you get your essays back, do they have red marks on them?"

"Yes!" they shouted.

"It's the same thing for me when I get my manuscript back from my editor. It's harsh to see all those marks, but it makes me a better writer."

Make Writing REAL

As an author of eight books, standing before these students, I made writing seem REAL to them. Like me, they had the idea that books simply appeared at Book Fair tables or on library shelves. By meeting me and listening to my story, now they know that those enigmatic authors out there also have writing journeys and use a process similar to their own.

By standing before my books, I made the possibility of them becoming authors seem attainable. And that's what I would have loved to have experienced when I was an elementary student.

They asked thoughtful questions about my writing process, which authors inspired me to write (C.S. Lewis...), and which books inspired my own (Where the Red Fern Grows, The Black Stallion, Lord of the Rings, and King Arthur). They impressed me with their comments. "Sometimes writing seems like work, doesn't it?" "Yes..." they moaned. But I showed them that writing can also be FUN because it is an expression of who they are and what they feel.

Author Visits

So, if you are a published author, go visit a local school to talk to the students about writing. Do it for free, too. Donate autographed copies of your books to their library. Leave bookmarks or other items for the students, so they will remember you.

Even if you don't write for children, the fact that you are a "real life" author, standing before them with your story and books, will make writing REAL to them. You have the chance to inspire and encourage kids who love to read and write.

What an amazing opportunity to have!

Your turn: Have you visited a school to talk to students about writing? Why or why not?

Happy Writing!

description

R. A. Douthitt is an award-winning author of middle grade books. She is currently working on her women's inspirational novel, Leaving Eden, to be release later this year. To learn more about her books, visit her website: www.thedragonforest.com
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
No comments have been added yet.