Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Little Encouragement Goes a Long Way

Well, this is my last post for the week. We are going on a not-quite-vacation tomorrow and I will be without blogging capabilities. I will miss you Thursday and Friday! Don't say anything too awesome while I'm away :-)

Now for today's post...

In high school I had an AMAZING English teacher. He was brilliant and his class was hard. He was like one of those teachers in movies who makes the kids realize that learning is fun.

He only gave A's to truly exceptional students (which meant he only gave an A every couple years). I wasn't an exceptional student. I worked very hard for a B. But, despite the fact that my English grade ruined my nearly perfect GPA, I loved his class.

We were reading THE GREAT GATSBY (still one of my favorite books) and we had to write essays about the symbolism. I can't remember exactly what I wrote about, but I do remember that after we had turned in the essay and the teacher had graded them, he read excerpts of his favorites in front of the class and mine was among them. It was the first time a teacher had ever complimented my writing (beyond writing an A on the top of the paper). And because this teacher was so tough, I knew he meant what he said.

When I decided to try writing a few years ago I remembered this teacher and others from college who had been positive about my writing. The encouragement they gave me years ago was enough to pull me through months of self-doubt when I was starting out.

Did you have a teacher, parent, youth leader, etc. that helped you believe in your ability to write? I'd love to hear about them.

(I'll see you Monday :)

22 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

I wrote good, solid papers in school but never had a passion for it at that time. I wasd definitely more of a math and science girl back then (until calculus, bleh). It makes me feel left out, like I don't have that special teacher to thank in my acknowledgments section. Although I do have amazing teachers that helped me along the way in general, just not in writing.

Have a wonderful mini-vacay. We'll try not to party too much in the blogosphere without you!

Lazy Writer said...

I loved The Great Gatsby, too. I had a college teacher tell me once that I should write a novel. I didn't take him seriously until much later in life.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I had encouragment from an author who was doing a workshop I had attended.
She really gave me the feeling of "Hey, maybe I CAN do this". :)

Have a great vacation!!

MattDel said...

I'd had encouragement from my teachers all along the way in terms of my writing -- my English teachers LOVED me in HS.

But really, the one that I can say I probably thank the most is Dr. Margerum, my college Editing professor. She was retired from teaching full-time when I had her at my third college, but she was still a wonderfully snarky lady who refused to accept crap writing from anyone (especially yours truly).

Besides that, the only other person I really want to dedicate anything to is my grandfather. He died in January, but writing's in my blood because of that old man. I relished every opportunity I had to debate writing with him (few though they were).

Patti said...

I don't think I had a lot of encouragement because I've been a closet writer most of life, but I've had lots of encouragment from family and friends.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Sherry Mangold and Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson, my teaching and writing role models. Thank you, ladies.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Have a wonderful vacation!

As for someone who believed in me, I think that would be my crit partner in the early phase. Patti stuck by me no matter how poorly I wrote and kept teaching me.

Heather Sunseri said...

I loved The Great Gatsby as well. Like MeganRebekah, I was a math and science person. I seem to be growing into my writing these days.

Jessica said...

Absolutely! The influence of teachers is incredible.

Laura Martone said...

Although, like Megan, I was a math nerd when I was younger, I've always loved to write. I call it "only child syndrome" - so I've always taken my passion for it seriously. And I've had a few English teachers (especially in high school) who validated my passion and encouraged me to keep trying. College was a tougher scene, but getting into two exclusive writing programs (for fiction and screenwriting) boosted my confidence a little, as did a professor named Johnny Payne. Thanks, Johnny!

Laura Martone said...

Oh, yes, and I should say... family and friends have always encouraged me. So, yahoo, for them (especially my hubby)!

Jody Hedlund said...

I don't remember a particular teacher. But I've always had a family who believed in me and encouraged me. And my mom liked to write and that inpsired me to pursue my dreams too.

Marie Devers said...

Yep.

I went to college and took English 101 from one of those teachers who only give A's to the exceptional students. I worked my butt off and got a B-.

Three years later, I took an advanced literature class from the same teacher. When he gave me an A, it was the best, most significant A I ever got in my life.

Marybeth Poppins said...

I adored my senior year English teacher. She really pushed me. But I think mostly it was just me.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Yes. Mrs. Geczy. She taught my Creative Writing (I and II) class. And speech. And ran the literary magazine I helped with. Pretty much, any class she taught, I tried to participate.

My senior year she presented me with an award and when she hugged me in front of my ENTIRE senior class ON STAGE, she got all teary and said, "someday you're going to write a book."

Back then I was embarrassed that hundreds of my classmates were watching me tear up. But now it's one of the most happy and sentimental moments of my life.

Lisa and Laura said...

Have a great vacation!

And yes, I had one of those teachers. It's amazing how one little comment can really stick with you for years and years.

Tabitha Bird said...

i know an amazing woman who has stood beside me for a while now and believed in my work a long time before I could or did. And yes, it really matters hey :)

Lisa said...

Hi Natalie! I don't know it took me so long to get to your blog, but here I am! I love it! And congrats on your super agent. That is great news! Just saying Hello!

Linda Kage said...

Oh, where to start. Well, in the first grade, Mrs. Coltrane praised my poem I wrote so much, I wanted to be a writer from that point on. Then in six and eighth, Mrs. Elrod and Mr. Cooper made me feel good about my writing. In high school, there was Mrs. Tilley and in College, Dr. DeGrave. I owe so much support to all of them.

Teachers just don't get paid enough in my opinion, for all the things they do.

Cammie said...

Lovely tale ... yes, I too hold such memories dear. I can't think of one special teacher, but rather, a bunch of teachers throughout my elementary school years who would call me aside and tell me they were entering my short story or essay in local competitions. I never thought much about it at the time, but as an adult, they've kind of become my writing "guardian angels."

Jill Kemerer said...

I was given some very kind words from a best-selling author at the very first writer's group meeting I ever attended. I'll never forget her words, her kindness, or the feeling of hope she gave me.

jdcoughlin said...

My very special writing teacher used to read my papers aloud to the class and criticize them big time. I was the only one in the class to get such special treatment, and he did it every single time. BUT it made me a better writer. A much better writer. I still remember him less than fondly, but am grateful. Kind of.