Sunday, October 21, 2012

What You Gain from Public Speaking

Just two weeks ago, I spoke at Mahomet-Seymour Jr. High, one of many
schools I spoke at, as part of the Youth Literature Festival through the University of Illinois.
In total, I spoke to over 1000 kids in three days!
What an inspirational experience for me and what inspirational kids!
In October 2010, when my first book came out, I was painfully nervous talking in front of groups. It didn't matter if it were kids or adults, I'd have so much anxiety I'd come close to backing out, that's how bad it got! On one occasion, I was scheduled to speak in front of 450 kids and came close to cancelling with some lame excuse, because I wasn't about to tell them it was my horrible fear of utter failure! My husband told me I had to do it. He said, he knew I was scared, but it was more important to not let the kids down, and in turn, not let down myself. He was so right! It was a rewarding experience and as soon as I got going I was fine. I still fought the anxiety for a while, but now, two years later, talking in front of groups, big or small, is such a pleasure!

I literally get goose bumps when kids sit up in their chairs and I can see them listening and thinking. And after my presentations, when kids come up and tell me about their stories and what they're writing, I can feel their excitement about writing. They ask for advice and ask me what I think about their ideas, and trust me, some of these kids have amazing ideas! They inspire ME!

Long story short, never be scared to share your story or give your advice. Even if you fall on your face, if you've inspired one writer, young or old, or they've inspired you, something amazing just happened! 

Speaking of young inspiring writers, happy birthday to Lenny Lee! He's a teenager now! Someday, I hope to be in the audience when he's up there talking about his first book! :)

Thanks to you all!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Youth Literature Festival, October 4-6th!

Come see me and several other children's authors from the great state of IL at the Youth Literature Festival this weekend! I'll be talking to area schools all day Thursday and Friday and then on Saturday I'll be at the Community Day Celebration talking to kids, speaking on panels, and signing books! Thanks to the University of Illinois for organizing such a great event and all the great sponsors who made it possible! If you're in the area, I hope to see you there!  

The Youth Literature Festival celebrates the value of literature in the lives of youth by bringing together local and national authors, illustrators, poets, and storytellers to share their stories, their craft, and their enthusiasm with children, teens and adults. Author visits to area schools are a central part of the festival activities. The festival also includes a Community Day Celebration that is free to the public on October 6, 2012. Community Day activities encourage all ages to share in the value of literature with hands-on activities, performances, and author presentations.  


PS: Congrats to Kristin Rae, who just signed with my agent, Marietta Zacker!! So happy for you, girlie! :)