Today I went to a local college to speak to the writing group there. I had been asked to go along to talk about writing and publishing.
I was a bit nervous about doing it as I didn't know how I would be received. But thankfully I wasn't booed out of the building. There were eight people in the group but they were all very quiet. I understand that being involved in any of the arts can be daunting. You produce something but you don't want to share it because it's like you're baring your soul, and you don't want to hear criticism.
We spent some time discussing what 'creative writing' is, and I was pleased to hear their responses. They see it as a form of expression and escapism. We also discussed what types of writing constitute 'creative writing', and one girl answered with 'everything' - the answer I wanted to hear. So many people think creative writing is limited to fiction stories and poetry, but it stretches a lot further than that. People seem to forget journalism, essays, travel writing, song lyrics, letters, diary entries (and so much more). However, the teens today were aware of these styles, although I'm not sure how many they write.
We also spoke a bit about publishing, and as young, new writers they hadn't really thought about it. One person asked about getting an agent, and other asked about self/e-publishing. Although I would love to have an agent, it's not easy. I explained about sending pieces off and getting rejections, which can be really disappointing, but it is worth doing as you never know what will happen. But if you do want your work out there, self/e-publishing is the way to go. It gets your name known and you never know who might find out about you. As an author it's so important to promote and publicise yourself and your work however you can.
We did a couple of five minute writing activities just to get their creativity flowing. They seemed to enjoy them - well I hope they did. They weren't very verbal, but that will come with time.
I really enjoyed the session, and even though I would have liked it if they had been a bit more chatty, it was great to see so many people there who were receptive to what I was saying and seemed as though they really enjoyed writing and wanted to take it further than a hobby (a couple of them have started to write novels).