National Encourage a Young Writer Day

April 10, 2018

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National Encourage a Young Writer Day

April 10 is National Encourage a Young Writer Day and we asked one of our writers what inspired them when they began writing. Turns out, we all got inspired by the origin story of Writer: Margaret West. Check out the interview below, and afterwards, think about how you could inspire someone too.

A FAMILY OF READERS

Margaret, you’re a fan of National Encourage a Young Writer Day. What first appealed to you about writing?
When I was young, we read and wrote frequently as a family. My mom would ask me to tell her a story, write it down, and then read it back to me. Sometimes, she would ask me to narrate an illustration I drew. As I got older, I continued to write on my own, sharing the stories with my family. The conversations it began, the connection I felt with my audience, and the knowledge I gained about language were the first rewards I felt as a writer.

Do you feel like reading helped to peak your interest in writing?
Absolutely. My parents read to me every night of my childhood. The more I read, the more I felt I needed to capture my thoughts and feelings on paper, too. As an adult, I have noticed that the more I read, the more frequently I write. The correlation between reading and writing is high for me.

Do you have a favorite book?
I’ve always been overwhelmed by the question of a favorite book because I have many favorites, but the books I have read the most in my life are the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The first time was in grade school and my mom read them to me.

I find it grounding and helpful to know how my words are resonating with other people, what feelings and thoughts I have elicited in them.


FEEDBACK: EXTERNAL & INTERNAL

How do you handle feedback on your writing?
I enjoy getting feedback. It’s easy for me to lose myself onto the page, seeing it through tunnel vision, so to speak. I find it grounding and helpful to know how my words are resonating with other people, what feelings and thoughts I have elicited in them. Whether or not I agree with the feedback, hearing other perspectives on the writing requires me to connect with what I’ve written from the outside and often leads to more concise and interesting pieces.

Why do you think it’s important to encourage young writers?
I think that writing is a way to know myself and often find out thoughts or feelings I’m having that catch me off guard. Once I start writing, I can’t hide from the unpleasantness I sometimes push away, so the catharsis is necessary for me. I feel like much self-confidence and self-knowledge can come from writing and the younger we start, the easier it is to trust our inner voice.


WRITE THROUGH YOUR LAYERS

What advice would you give to a young writer?
Write like no one is looking. I have often censored or changed what I wrote, even in a private journal, thinking someone might judge me for it. That’s not authentic. I believe the best writing comes from deep inside, not from our overanalyzing brain. I stopped writing that way as I got older and now I write from my inner voice, not from how I think may be received. It’s liberating and I wish I had been able to do that younger. Writing is freeing, don’t make yourself the limitations.

Margaret West is a Content Architect and Annotator at MicroMass Communications. She brings a warmth to everything that she writes, often with deeply interwoven maturity and insight. You can learn more about Margaret and all our Behavioral Copywriters by checking out our #WritersWednesday posts on The Writers’ Block!