I had my first guest speaker opportunity as an author. I’ve spoke to groups many times, some as large as 1100, but I’ve never spoken before as an author and it was amazing. This has been a week of firsts in many areas.
I was invited to come and talk with the grade 4 class at one of the local elementary schools. The duration? an hour. I have no problem giving speeches that are an hour, but the younger the crowd, the more dynamic you need to be to keep them engaged. Apparently I succeeded rather well. I love having an audience, and an opportunity to include some of my voices and be a bit zany, rather than buttoned down and focusing on vision and potential, was a nice change from the norm.
While some kids had brought their copies of Along Came a Wolf to have them signed, or show that they had them, and the teacher had been lending the kids her copy, the talk wasn’t about the book. Rather, it was about my perspective on what it takes to be a writer and some behind the scenes stuff.
Some of the points that I brought up for the kids was that being an author is about being a fearless inventor. You need to create and try and try and create. You need to be willing to be nervous and scared and get through it, because that’s what fearless really is. And I defined success as being the view from the top of the mountain of hard work you’ve built. Yes, they got it. They were awesome.
One of the girls was making serious notes as I spoke. I’d see her listen and then a little inner DING must have gone off, and she’d scribble something down. A couple of the boys, clearly with dreams and aspirations of being writers themselves, asked questions about how do you get published and could a kid get published? When they got the answers, they were shocked that yes, a kid could get published and here’s how.
The key messages that they took away were that 2 really important things are passion and persistence, but the number one thing that you need to do to have any hope of becoming a world famous author (like I hope to be one day) is FINISH. You have to finish stories, and finishing doesn’t mean the story is perfect, it means that the story is something you can be proud of and maybe if you keep playing with it, you’ll make it less good. But if you never finish your stories and always jump on to other, new, shinier things, well, you’ll never get anywhere.
What an awesome experience and I have to thank that class once again for inviting.
Where’s my list? Guest speaker at local Calgary school? Check!