Back To School

I volunteer once a month in my daughter's 2nd grade classroom. My responsibilities tend to be cutting, stapling, and collating, though once I got to use a hot glue gun. That was cool.

The teacher got wind of me being a writer and she asked if I'd talk with the class about my writing process. The kids do a lot of writing, stories and essays, but are rather reluctant editors. I feel their pain. The teacher asked if I could focus a bit on that and maybe bring in some edited pages.

I was humbled to be asked to do that. And a little nervous. Kids ask the darndest questions, you know.

During my talk, I discovered they do many of the methods I mentioned: checking spelling (of course), reading out loud, and even cutting up a story and rearranging the pieces. Impressive.

I received some good tips. Like not making a title of a story until you're done, that way you know what the story is about. I usually get the title fixed in my brain at the beginning (after all, I need to save the document file as something). Good advice.

And then the questions. They were mostly softballs. For example: What is my favorite story that I wrote? But then came the tough question, the kind I knew would come up.

"Are you a professional?"

D'oh! Wow. Imagine the things going through my head, the subjective nature of the meaning professional writer, or even just writer! But I couldn't waffle. They'd see through that. I had to be honest.

I said that writing was a tough job. That most writers don't make a lot of money doing it and, like me, have another job to earn money. Writing takes a lot of patience and practice but if you love doing it, then it's worth all the work.

So it all went well. The teacher was pleased. My daughter was proud of me, and happy I didn't say anything to embarrass her.


"Never work with animals or

"Never work with animals or children." - Johnny Carson.

I don't know how I would answer that "professional" question. I think there would be a lot of description and delineation, defining the box, to say "Yes, I get paid, but no, I don't earn a living from it."

At least they didn't ask you the "How do I get an agent" question.

lol! No agent questions,

lol! No agent questions, thank goodness.

They'll be self-publishing this year, making covers for their books and everything. I'm a little jealous.

You are a brave man. I

You are a brave man. I honestly cannot think of a more intimidating audience.

Just requires a willingness

Just requires a willingness to look goofy. I seem to have an abundance of that.

Fantastic post, Todd. You'll

Fantastic post, Todd. You'll never know how much you inspired some unsuspecting second grader. Thanks for sharing such a cute story

The bonus is it works both

The bonus is it works both ways; I felt inspired by them as well.

I remember when I was in

I remember when I was in school we got to publish our first books with hard covers. Mum has a box with books from my primary school I wrote. They all say 'Canadian Author' on them. I remember learning from inspiring parents that if I wanted to write I should just keep writing, no matter what. I wrote another book at 15. I'm inspired and smiling after reading about volunteering in your daughters class. She'll never for get that and she's lucky to have a Dad so cool.

Thanks, Casie. Are you still

Thanks, Casie. Are you still writing? I'll have to read more of your blog posts to find out.

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