A few days ago, my Grandfather dropped my brother off at my home. He is one of those grandfathers who wears white jeans, tennis shoes, and pastel colored sweaters over his tennis shirts. My Grandfather is both classy and progressive. Along with his avid interest in jazz music, his reading list has Japenese Haiku on one end and Haruki Murakami on the other. He practically breathes haiku.
I gripped the arms of my chair. That very day, I had received an email from him concerning my blog. I could not wait to ask him questions concerning writing.
Finally, I asked him my question.
“Nonno, how does my blog come across as…pretentous?”
My grandfather took a sip of his scotch, leaned forward in his chair and said with a rumbling voice:
“You, are not the Pope.”
“Oh!” I said.
His point soon came clear. Why is a fourteen-year-old girl writing blog posts on something that she does not have first-hand experience of?
From him, I gathered several tips on writing, not just for young people, but also older writers.
Tip One: Establish Your Authenticity
“You, are not the Pope.”
When writing, one must establish the authenticity that they have. Thus, as a young teen writer, I have little authority at all. I have not experienced many trials in writing or learned enough first-hand to be able to speak on it.
Thus, writing a blog post on what I learned from another blog post or book is not a good thing as a writer to do. One must speak on what they know, not on what they have heard.
However, I do have authority over my own experiences and ideas. Writing on what I have truly experienced is great and allows me to establish my “authority”.
Tip Two: A Writing Exercise
Quick! Grab a piece of paper and a pencil! Write down five to ten things that you enjoy doing. Be detailed in the way you write each one. “I like to read” does not provide enough information. However, “I enjoy reading light contemporary
novels by the pool on cool summer evenings,” is much better.
Perhaps this exercise seems simple and childish to you?
However, my Grandfather had an interesting experience with his college students when he had them do this exercise.
He had them split up into groups and after they completed the exercise he went around and had a couple of them read aloud what they had written. Afterward, he remarked, “It’s funny. How are old are you all? Eighteen? Twenty? Twenty-Five? I find it interesting that none of you mentioned enjoying kissing.”
You can imagine how uncomfortable his students were. However, my grandfather proved his point. One must be honest when writing. There should be none of these facades or even false writing styles. Writing is supposed to inform and cast light upon lies, not darken the picture.
I am still discovering how to write more on my own experience, and not on what I have heard. While this process is long, I am so glad my Grandfather came over that day. I learned a powerful message:
Do not pretend to be another writer. Be yourself and know your limits and boundaries in writing…
If you found this interesting, you can check out my blog at Annalia Fiore.