On public speaking and today’s youth

Jan 26

Hmm, long overdue for an update, eh? Sorry about that. I’d like to be able to blame it on all the amaaaazing writing I’ve been doing on Undergroundbut unfortunately I have this stupid habit of being really honest so, no. That’s not the reason. Time’s just gotten away from me lately… and also I just finished playing through Final Fantasy VII again. Have I ever told you all how much of a nerd I am? Well, I guess the cat’s out of the bag.

IN OTHER NEWS (er, actually, related news), on Friday I participated in the first of several fun upcoming marketing/promotional events for Terra — speaking to a local high school about the book! My college friend Kristina invited me to come to Washington-Lee High School in Arlington and speak to one of her English classes about the book, writing, the publishing process, and the like. I had a great time! It’d been a while since I’d spoken in front of a group of any kind, but these kids had some great questions up their sleeves. Also, I pretty much majored in speech-giving in college (okay, well, it was called Communication Studies, but my favorite part was when I got to force my entire class to pay attention to me when I spoke) so I won’t lie–I definitely enjoyed being the center of hamtention once again.

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It should be noted, however, that high school is already VASTLY different now than it was when I was in high school. I mean, I certainly don’t remember having classroom-rentable iPads at my disposal when I was a sophomore, that’s all I’m saying. But it still was nice to know I could keep (most of) the students’ attention, and most of them even seemed interested and engaged to boot! It was primarily a Q&A session with the kids’ questions, plus I read an excerpt. (Click here to see the slides of questions I was asked.) We also did a drawing for a copy of Terra at the very end of the period, and people always like free stuff, so there’s that.

I think I had the most fun talking about the self-publishing process with the class. You guys know I’m a big advocate of independent publishing and am really pleased with the success I’ve found with it so far. So getting to introduce the concept to these kids that they can write and publish on their own–letting them know they can do it without having to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer in order to make a real living–that felt particularly cool.

I’ll be speaking again on a panel at a Writer’s Conference in March at Centreville High School, and am doubly looking forward to it after this experience! I know it sounds super cheesy, but it’s true that speaking to today’s youth does give me the warm & fuzzies. (I realize I’m not exactly an elder at this point, but comparatively, I can still call those younger than me youths!) Here’s to looking forward to more opportunities to do so in the future!

5 comments

  1. How cool 😀 Would you say the students were very welcoming? I always wonder if they would be critical of me because I’ve only written 1 book, hehe.

    I tried playing FFVII a long time ago, then I got stuck pretty early on and rage quit and never went back… I played lots of the other ones though!

    • I thought the environment was very welcoming. I mean, as far as the individual students, some seemed super into it, some obviously couldn’t have cared less. But overall I know that back in high school, I would never have openly been critical of a visiting adult who came to speak to my class, so I wouldn’t worry about that at all!

  2. Those kids had some great questions! I’d be curious about some of the answers. Inspiration for some new posts? 🙂

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