Have you ever met a writer in the wild?
Recently, Facebook reminded me of the one-year anniversary of a time I ventured into the wild, and outside of my comfort zone, to talk to people about my writing in person. It was both terrifying and taught me a lot about the extended opportunities and responsibilities of this “job.”
One of the things I love most about being a writer is that I can do it in the comfort of my little bubble. Just me, myself, and my characters. As an introvert who grows more introverted as she gets older, I love spending quiet time with God as He leads me through an emerging story—in a sense, handing me the staff to guide words like a shepherd guides sheep. The words have a mind of their own and I’m grateful to tend them toward a destination.
In March of 2022, after a faithful reader reached out to me with an invitation, I found myself standing in front of a library full of middle school students tasked with telling them what it’s like to be an author. (Talk about an intimidating audience!) I felt so inadequately qualified and certain that they’d be entirely uninterested. Middle schoolers, after all, aren’t my target audience.
To my surprise, the students were largely attentive and engaged. After my short presentation, several asked thoughtful and interesting questions. I told them about my creative process and how vulnerable it feels to send a story off to your editor and then into the world. I answered questions about my income (spoiler: it’s not much), where ideas come from, if any characters are based on real people, etc. By the end of the event, several of the students gathered to take a photo with me (see below). It was so fun and something I won’t soon forget!
As the experience wrapped up, I was surprised by my awareness of a few unexpected truths. First, that young people aren’t as universally uninterested and apathetic as society makes them out to be. Second, we can all connect over experiences and not only the things we have in common. And third, that there may be a student in that library destined to be a writer one day, and my being willing to share about my experience may influence that person to go after it!
A year after this unexpected opportunity, I’m still grateful that friends and family encouraged me to step outside of my comfortable introverted bubble. I’m grateful for the reader, Dawn, who invited me to come speak to the students she teachers and influences every day. And, lastly, I’m grateful for the reminder that being a writer is so much bigger than sitting alone as a story comes together—if I let it be.
If you’ve met a writer in the wild, I’d love to hear about your experience! Who’d you meet? Where? What did you talk about and what do you remember most about the interaction? Is there a writer you’d love to meet? Tell me in a comment!