WRITE: Firm Foundations, Fulfilled Dreams: An Interview with Author C.J. Darlington (Part IV)
Today, I present the final portion of my interview with 2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel winner C.J. Darlington. Homeschooling parents and writers who seek publication will want to pay special attention. This comes with a shoutout to C.J. for all her helpful answers and to Homeschooling Today for permission to reprint.
C.J.’S TIPS FOR YOUNG WRITERS AND THEIR TEACHERS:
How homeschooling helps writers learn and grow: If it weren’t for my parents’ choice of homeschooling, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Homeschooling taught me how to teach myself. But after I graduated, my parents were still there to help me pursue my dreams.
I believe the homeschool experience fosters individual thinking. That’s so important. I never want to swallow what someone tells me is truth without asking questions.
How homeschooling can build creativity: Mom required us to journal every day. We could write about whatever we wanted, and she promised she would never read our entries. That was a freeing experience. I was thirteen when I started and still keep a journal.
Mom also built assignments around our interests. For example, she turned the newspaper Tracy and I started into an entire journalism course. Through The Monthly Dart, we learned how to write editorials, limericks, fiction, news articles, and more because those areas intrigued us.
How to achieve your writing dreams: Never give up. If God has put the desire to write in your heart, He has a way of fulfilling it. I had the dream of being a published author for more than fifteen years before my first book released. Was it worth the wait? You bet. But you’ll never reach your dreams if you give up on them.
PUTTING IT IN PRINT:
1. Learn to type correctly. This is the one homeschool requirement I use every day. If you want to be a writer, it’s imperative.
2. Read great books. The best way to learn how to write fiction is to read great novels. It’s learning by osmosis. You’ll pick up concepts like how to structure a story, craft dialogue, and master point of view without realizing it.
3. Write about what you love. You’ll write best if your topic interests you. Do you love horses? Write a story about a girl and her horse. Are airplanes your passion? Create a story that features a pilot. My sister, Tracy, started writing articles about Christian musicians for youth publications because she loved Christian music.
4. Be patient. Writing is an apprenticeship. It can take years to master the craft and achieve publication. Allow this to encourage you on days when the words don’t flow.
Originally published in Homeschooling Today® magazine, January/February 2010, used by permission. All rights reserved, www.homeschooltoday.com.