Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Daughter, the Writer

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. -Mark Twain

I have been writing articles for a bi-monthly publication called The Lifeline for about 17 years. It is a small newspaper published by Life Grocery, where I have been shopping for organic and health foods since we first moved here. When I started writing there were several writers submitting also hoping to be published within the eight pages. Back then it was far more competitive with professionals having all kinds of impressive initials behind their names, which I do not. Also, the editor had many submissions from which to choose, more than she could put in print, so imagine how honored I felt whenever one of my articles actually got tucked into the last two or three pages.

I had been writing for years and I remember one time looking in the back, but not finding my article, thinking all the other articles must have been better. Then I looked around some more to the pages toward the front, because once or twice my article had been on the second or third pages--no, oh well. I closed it and that is when my eyes fell on the front page: there was my article! I remember it was the Christmas season and it was an article that I would not show anyone in my family, because it was about Christmas traditions I had changed to avoid the tradition of being overweight along with other health problems that seem to also be a tradition in my family. To have something of which I was so proud and not be able to share it with my family--well, it was two-edge sword. Since then my articles have popped up all over the publication and on the front page from time to time, each time it makes me smile!

My daughter has been writing creatively for years. She has started several fiction books, she tells me, but will not let me read them. I assume that is because I would spot areas where she should make corrections and that would take the fun out of it for her. However, my point is that the girl writes and I have been very heavy on Language Arts to give her the best tools to be a very good writer. This year, I felt that she was ready to stretch her talent a bit more.

I asked the editor of The Lifeline if she would be interested in taking submissions from my teenage daughter, sort of a teen writing to teens kind of thing. Through the years The Lifeline has lost writers and gained new ones, but these last few years the low number of submissions forced them to downside to just four pages. Being smaller, there is still as much competition for space, but there also is less diversity. I thought this would be beneficial to the Princess, who is highly health conscious, and The Lifeline in getting children and teens interested in organics. The editor said she always wanted a teen to write, so she would be thrilled to accept her articles.

We had so much going on with the science expedition, end of the Living Science school year, and the work being done on the house that the Princess and I decided that she would write to meet the June deadline, rather than try for April. I suggested that her article be about 250 words or less, for a better chance to fit in. In the past most of the writers articles were suggested to be 500 words or less, but sometimes the material just needs more space.

Although we had decided on the subject and I had talked with her about the format, because it was different than the writing she had been doing up to then, my daughter's first draft read like a science report. It had a too many facts, a bullet list even, and it was dry, not personable. I praised her on the research but explained that she is supposed to be writing to teens, not for her science teacher. I knew her first few articles were going to require a lot of editing, just because she was not experienced with this form of writing. I, again, suggested strongly, in that "mother said do it or else" way, that she create an outline, since she did not do it the first time, with the explanation would help her to keep her topic narrowed down to the one direction as we had discussed, since now she had all these facts in her head.

The second draft was better, but still lacked personality. Writing to teens...? So we worked on it together line by line, which I was trying to avoid, but it was her first time and there was that deadline...and I was trying to get my own article done also, which was about introducing her! We also had a talk about what I call soft and hard deadlines; I usually have a soft deadline for myself at least a week before the hard deadline because things can come up unexpectedly and the hard deadline does not change.

Submissions in on time and the editor loved my Princess' article! Asked her some questions by email, but we were sure it was going to be in, if it fit. Then we waited and waited and waited--this was my baby's first approved article and I was getting impatient to see it in print! The Lifeline is supposed to be published on odd months, but it did not get done until just this last week, six weeks behind schedule.  There was so much going on at the store with the redecorating of the cafe and the editor is also the operations manager, which might account for the delay, but it is out! Actually, I was at the store yesterday and they did not have the hard copies there yet, but it is online.

My daughter's first published article, "Teen Keen on Coconut Oil," is on page 3. She is now a published writer at just fourteen! Yes, this is a serious mama brag!

~ My Lord, thank you for the beautifully talented daughter you have given me. I am in awe of her. ~

2 comments:

  1. Yay! Way to go Princess. I first got published a teensy bit younger for a play I wrote. So exciting.

    Hey, Seeking, what's the go with the blog? It's backwards. All the really old posts are first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was having issues with the layout for a few days, but I am not seeing what you are describing so I will look into that.

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