- I was great in English: yes, of course.
- I was a little late on this one: I didn't write my first YA novel until I was in 7th grade, and then I wrote another in 9th grade. This was back before the days of computers, of course, so I wrote them by hand. On notebook paper. In pencil. I still have them.
|Notice: coffee to the left, notepad to the right.|
This article reminds me of an excellent book I read when I was about to write my dissertation. The best piece of advice in this book--advice that I rely on to this day--is to keep a notepad beside the computer. As I'm writing, I of course think of things that absolutely must be done at this very minute: I have to wash the dishes! Find all the used Kleenex and throw them away! Do some stretching! File all my medical bills! Instead of doing them, I write them down, and I get to do them when I'm finished with my writing goal.
Of course, when I've met my writing goal, I have no interest in doing any of those things.
Toward the end of the article I stop relating quite so fully. First of all, I got my ass kicked in graduate school. It was clear to me that I actually wasn't as smart as all my classmates, so I started working hard hard hard just to keep up. As it turns out, I did just fine--but I didn't (and don't) think it was because of my inherent brilliance. And second, I'm not teaching at an Ivy League school, which means I'm constantly interacting with students who also don't believe in their inherent brilliance, and who come to my office hours wanting to know how to do at least acceptably well--or who come to my office hours because they're so excited by the ideas they're encountering that they want to do more and more.
Finally, I do think that parental praise is hugely important. My parents did think I was brilliant. But they always acknowledged that the rest of the world might not agree, and I needed to have a sense of my own worth and also work hard.
So here I am, successfully writing a blog post.