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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reaching Children

When I think about one of the things I want to accomplish with my writing, I think about children today. Not necessarily the little ones, but teenagers. I want to reach them. I want to touch their lives.

There are two ways I want to do this:

1) Through my books

2) Through my example

Through my books
I don't want my books to be preachy. I sure hope they are not. But I have carefully chosen characters that represent different ways of thinking, ways of life, with different morals and beliefs. My hope is to get people to put themselves into a mindset that is not their own, and make them think a little bit about why this character acts the way he/she does. I want my readers to question their own lives because of how they see things play out in my books. I hope there are certain characters they will admire and respect, and certain characters that they will strive not to be like.

But above all, I want them to pick up my book and feel understood. To know that their thought processes and feelings are just as real and valid as anyone's. To know that we, as adults, appreciate what uniqueness they have to give to society right now.

Through my example
There's a lot to be said for having a dream. We really can accomplish whatever we want--with a lot of sweat and perseverance! And many of our dreams begin when we are young. I started my first novel when I was 9 years old. Only made it three chapters before I quit, but still. That's what I wanted, and I knew it.

I wrote Perilous when I was 12 years old. I finished it. It's true that the draft I wrote 15+ years ago is very different than what it is now, but it's the same story. Just several several several drafts later. Just because someone is young doesn't mean they can't accomplish something big. It's important to believe in oneself. To keep the future in mind. There's a girl at my church who, with her sister, raised enough money to build a library in Cambodia. They are teenagers. It is inspiring what young people can accomplish.

And you don't have to be pretty, popular, or rich. Oh, how I wish I had a picture of myself in junior high! My glasses were tinted and took up half my face. I wore my hair long and unstyled, usually with a clippy holding back half of it. The only clothes I had in my closet were t-shirts and jeans. I had friends and they thought my writing was silly. None of them wanted to read my drafts. They didn't care. And I certainly wasn't rich. We all joked that my first car would cost $50 and have no seats or flooring. We'd have to run to get it started just like a Flintstone car.

But I had notebook paper and a pencil and study hall. I wrote a book. And it got me somewhere.

Share with me one of your childhood dreams. Is it still a dream? Have you accomplished it? What are you doing to make it happen?

Image from http://www.iparentingcanada.com/articles/preteenagers/friends-or-foes-1187/2/.

14 comments:

T.J. said...

My childhood dream was to be a writer. Wow! It's still my dream. I've been trying to write since I was 10 or 11. And I've spent time trying to make it come true.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

good for you, T.J.! at least you're still at it!

KarenG said...

Tamara, I think you have found your platform. I hope this is your platform because it's awesome and inspiring and you can go a long way with this. This in combination with your book truly can reach kids.

*LLUVIA* said...

I've had a journal since I was 11 or 12. I've been writing since then. I used to draw a lot, and that's where my stories are. I wasn't rich, either and I lived in the hood (plenty of stuff to write about).

My dream changed once I got to high school because I wanted something more practical. Mom used to tell me writing was for idealists, dreamers; it wouldn't pay the bills. I wanted something that would pay the bills right away. I still write, but it's more like a hobby.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Karen--this is definitely part of my platform! My platform is 3-fold, and this is part 1. Glad you like it!

Lluvia--I started to keep a daily journal when I was 13! I wrote in it every day up until I got married...now I admit I'm hit or miss.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My childhood dream was to be a writer. Still is. :D

Jemi Fraser said...

That's a great story - I'm sure both those dreams will come true!

I had about a bazillion dreams as a kid. I wanted to be pretty much everything: astronaut, vet, rancher, biologist, cartoonist, director for musicals, musician, songwriter, professional athlete, artist, teahcer, psychiatrist, scientist, librarian, researcher,.... and yes, writer :)

Emailman said...

I wanted to be a rockstar!...lol...Maybe it's a boy thing. I was convinced I would make it, I played in loads of bands since I was at school, right up to the age of my mid 30's. Never quite made it though. It was fun while it lasted. Gotta love being a cool dude in a rock band.

I agree with you, Tamara, writing for kids and touching their lives is my new dream. I can't think of anything more awesome. I could never see myself writing for adults somehow.

Talli Roland said...

What a great story, Tamara. I love that you first wrote your draft when you were 12! My childhood dream was to be a writer, too. And it might just come true! I also wanted to be an Olympic gymnast and runner. Sadly... I didn't quite make it! :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Kurt--yeah, I can't see myself writing for an adult audience at all! Yet I hope adults will appreciate my writing!

LOL, Talli. Some dreams we leave behind us. Others, we just keep on dreaming.

Francine said...

Hi,

Congratulations on realising your childhood dream! You must be ecstatically happy. :)

As a child my dream was not about writing despite success, it was to be an opera singer!! Alas, a serious throat infection and vocal chord strain put paid to the ultimate dream - I never recovered sufficient to hit the high notes for any length of time!

Writing though is a pleasure to behold, as all the characters appear indream sequences and reveal their story in cinematic terms so little hard work entailed in getting their story on a laptop.

best
F

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I have something on my blog for you. :)

Suzanne said...

I have wanted to always work with children or to be a mother. Right now I work for a before and after school program. One day I hope to have a family.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Francine! I also wanted to be a fabulous singer when I was younger...I made a decision in high school to pursue my writing more than my singing. I still love to sing! But writing is my passion.

Thanks, Stina! On my way over!

Oh Suzanne! I hope you are able to have your family!

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