There is nothing so rewarding than to take on the responsibility of inspiring young minds.Christopher D. Morgan
When I recently decided to embark on the journey of knocking off that stubbornly persistent bucket list item of publishing a novel, I never really gave much thought to what was going to happen along the way. It turned out to be much more than simply write and publish a novel. Part of the bigger picture was the process of developing an author platform. This is just a fancy way of describing the process of getting people to know about you as an author and your published works. It’s things like setting up a web-site, social media presence, public speaking, guest blog posts, etc.
As a part of my own journey to create my author platform, I decided I’d contact some of my local schools and offer them a free book for their library. From there, I somehow stumbled into the notion of visiting the schools in person and talking to whole classes of students about being a writer and the writing process. As it happens, this has turned out to be a very rewarding end in and of itself and one that I’ve become especially proud of.
I’ve visited several schools to date with more having expressed interest and I’ve found that engaging with young minds is a truly rewarding experience. It helps that my writing is targeted at the young adult audience – my own kids’ age, so I already feel something of a connection with the audience when I visit the schools. My sessions are high-energy, engaging and fun. We play various games that all the kids can and do get enthusiastic about.
When I was growing up, I remember thinking that authors were not only something to be admired, but more often than not, were already either very old or long since dead - Shakespeare, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, etc. These were the authors that I knew about, but they were either very old or even ancient. To me, an author was someone that wrote the books I was familiar with but the books were many, many years old. I never once believed I could do anything like that. It seemed like a goal that was simply unattainable and only possible by people that were especially gifted and special.
One of the things that I go out of my way now to tell the students that I visit is that I, too, was once like them, and that becoming an author isn’t an unobtainable or lofty goal. It’s a very real possibility that, if it’s what truly interests them, they should aspire to and go for. It’s gratifying to see them sit there, enthralled and captivated by what I have to say and this, perhaps more than having published a book, has become a reward I’ve come to love and cherish.