It’s Wednesday it’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.
I love kids.
One thing about having kids around is that you can always trust their opinion. If something’s not working, you can rely on them to tell you about it. They will always be brutally honest. They will never take into account your feelings.
When you need an opinion, ask the child, not the adult. I sometimes find other grown-ups are too eager to tell me what they think I want to hear.
For instance, this happened just recently: I was due to give my fourth speech at my local Toastmasters club, which led to my having a wonderful run-in with truth vs diplomacy. My middle child, Sam, who has Down Syndrome, was home sick. The days were flying by on swift wings. In between nursing Sam, I was trying to work on the fourth chapter of my work-in-progress for submitting to critique, as well as write the TM speech, deal with my other two boys, and attend to the jobs in the yard and the pressing needs of spring planting times.
Looking back on it now, I realize I tried phoning it in. I dashed off a five-minute speech with the uninspired title of, ‘How Do You Write a Story?’ I typed up a few flow charts and printed them out. Then I forced myself to learn the talk in one day.
Testing it on my ‘audience’ of family members that night, I realized they were bored and so was I. The whole thing felt forced. And I also realized the subject would only be of interest to other wannabe-writers and no one else. Yet, even though I felt a knowingness in my gut, I still wanted to ask for other people’s reactions.
I asked, “What did you think?”
The adult answered, “I liked it, I thought it was fine.”
My youngest son piped up and said, “I didn’t like it at all, it wasn’t inspiring enough!”
Bam! Right to the jugular.
And he was right.
Kids are unaffected.
That’s the beauty of parenthood and probably for teachers, as well, is that you get to spend time around these young people who are completely unselfconscious about expressing their truth all the time. It’s refreshing and interesting! They tell it like it is.
Kids see, they say.
My son’s plain truth was very helpful. He helped me realize I hadn’t put my heart into the speech. I wouldn’t have engaged my audience on even the most basic level.
Everyone’s time is so precious these days. You can’t waste people’s time with anything other than your focus, your heart, your energy. That’s part of our service as writers, isn’t it.
I scrapped the ‘how do you write a story’ speech, and rewrote it when I was fresh. The mornings are my peak writing time. So, I wrote the new deliberation yesterday morning and gave it all my attention. I wrote about one of my own personal memories from childhood, and how that has led me to writing fiction for children. The speech is entitled, ‘The Unsightly Wet Nightie.’
My son’s admonition, It wasn’t inspiring enough, will stay with me well beyond this week.
His other truths will also stay with me, but for other reasons.
Like the time he said, “Your face is soooo wrinkly…cute, but wrinkly!”
Or the time he said, “Your hair feels just like lovely straw!”
Or the time, a few weeks ago, upon seeing a picture of me as a twenty-something, he said, “Wow, I didn’t know you were so beautiful when you were young. You’re ugly now, though!”
My father says his grandson ‘likes to live dangerously.’
Good. I say let him do it while he can. Kids, don’t you love ‘em?
Got any funny stories about the truths your kids have said to you?
Yvette K. Carol
Be small enough that you are willing and able to fail without letting failure destroy you. ~ Chuck Wendig