Monday, April 25, 2011

Keys on Notes. Notes on Keys. Keynotes.

Saturday I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Teen Author Boot Camp (put on by the super cool writing group Writers Cubed) and give the keynote speech. It was the first one I've ever done and, in spite of minor technical difficulties at the beginning quickly solved by the tech savvy organizers (which also gave me the opportunity to decide my next imaginary band should be named Technical Difficulties), I had a great time and felt like it went well.

Plus, speaking to an audience made up entirely of teen writers? You really can't get a better group than that. I was so impressed with the teens I met there. My favorite events are always the ones focused around teenagers. There's a reason I write for them. That reason is that they are awesome and hilarious and so much cooler and put together than I remember being at that age...

Anyhow, some people asked if I could post my keynote. I'm not going to type out everything I said because aside from a few slides with key points, I mostly ad libbed the whole thing. (AND! I managed to only talk fast, instead of waywaywaytoofast!) But today and tomorrow I'll share my powerpoint slides for some of it with you. 

Today, my main tips for moving from being a real writer to being a realer writer. Keep in mind I spoke more on each of the points; please just imagine what I would have said, and while you are at it imagine I said it while standing at a perfect 5'7" height, with flawless hair and makeup, and that everything was brilliant and funny and astonishingly applicable.












Tomorrow: I show off my mad art skills. Be excited. Be very excited.

31 comments:

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Technical Difficulties is like the best name for a band EVAH!

Jen Knight said...

Amazing! I wish I had been there to hear it, even though I'm not a teen (I look like one, but I am NOT!) it still sounds like amazing advice for any writer.

I especially connected with the part where you mentioned finding time/space to write and guarding it fiercely. I am always fending off hubbies and babies and pesky "other" commmittments in order to meet my daily writing quota.

Unfortunately, they usually win.

I think it must be selfish or something, but sometimes I wish my kids went to school, so I could have a few hours of SILENCE to write.

Do your kids go to school? How do you manage to find time to write, let alone write as much as you do!

Kiersten White said...

My daughter is in school and my son has preschool for a few hours a week. I use his preschool time and then in the evenings I try to write. If I *really* need to get things done, I "go to the library," AKA tell my son I am leaving in the evening, go downstairs, slam the door to the garage, and then sit in my office down there until I've done everything I need to for the day.

Uh, keep in mind I only do this when my husband is home. I don't trick my son that I've left the house when no one else is here.

Fact of the matter is, if you want to write you are going to have to sacrifice something, somewhere. When I first got serious about writing, I gave up sleeping during my kids' naptime. Now I give up having a social life (HEY FRIENDS, REMEMBER ME???) and free time in the evenings. I also don't watch TV.

The Redhead Riter said...

"Don't tell your parents I said that last point."

LOL

Very cute!

Just as an FYI, I'm sure many others told them before you did...It seems they learn too much, too quickly these days.

Jess said...

"This advice doesn't apply to things like being tased" - Hahahah!

Thank you for the great advice! I can't wait to read the rest of it. :)

Becky Wallace said...

Great points for EVERYONE to remember!

Jason said...

While I absolutely pictured you at 5-7 giving that talk while I read the slides, I have to say, the slides by themselves were pretty dang fantastic. I'm also not a teen writer - that was way too long ago - but I think your advice could really apply to anyone starting out. If the talk is anything like the personality in those slides, this blog, and in your books (I'm sure it is), I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to hear it.

Hey, next time you should record it and put it on YouTube. :)

Anonymous said...

Your talk may have been aimed at YA but every aspiring author should post this on their bathroom mirror! Great information and excellent advice!

Carol J. Garvin said...

Sorry... that last anonymous comment posted before I intended.

Carol

Eleven Eleven said...

This is great, Kirsten. Everything you write seems to be.

The thing I had to learn is some of these things will come naturally, and some won't. I, for instance, am not naturally observant. Other aspects of writing came to me with a small amount of effort, but this one took a serious amount of focus and work. Anything is possible, it's just not guaranteed to be easy.

My mantra has always been that sacrifice proves priorities. If you want writing to be a big deal in your life, you need let some lesser things die on the altar for its sake. The hard part is remembering what's even more important than writing. Occasionally, writing must go on the chopping block for the sake of those bigger things.

Athena said...

Some nice points there! I really like the first one; I love bad puns! :D

Remilda Graystone said...

This is realer advice than I'm used to--and I liked it! I really enjoyed this post. Inspirational and hilarious, my favorites!

Natalie C Parker said...

This is super fantastic, Kiersten. And beautifully presented!

Bahnree said...

Where were you when I was in high-school? :)

Gennifer Albin said...

Thank you Kierstan. This was awesome and characteristically hilarious. I know just what you mean about sacrifice. I'm a SAHM and at least 5 nights a week, I feed the kids, hand them off at the door to my husband and head out to write for three hours. We barely see each other, but I did a draft and 2 rewrites in 6 months and I'm getting ready to query. I missed out on stuff (I'm so behind on Glee and Fringe) but I wrote a book! We treat my writing time like a job and I'm lucky my husband is so supportive.

Megan said...

I know someone that met you there! She did indeed say that you talked fast. xD
I'm extremely jealous.... ;-;

Jo Schaffer said...

You were an amazing keynote speaker. We feel so lucky to get you! The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Thanks again from all of us "Cubies".
(=

Lois D. Brown said...

Kiersten,

I video taped a good portion of your talk. Would you like to me send it to you. It is a pretty big file

Lois

Kiersten White said...

Hey Lois! (Everyone say hi to Lois and Jo, two of the awesome organizers.) (I'm waiting.) (Okay, thank you for all saying hi.) Sure! Might as well : ) Thanks!

LinWash said...

Great address!

Margie said...

Already excited for it! Your art work was AMAZING. ;-) It was a great presentation and so funny. Thanks for posting this. I'm actually going to save it in my favorites page so I can share it with teens who weren't at the conference.

ellen said...

I really want to be an american teen. And then I want to go back in time a couple of days.
Anyone got a magic lamp to spare?

twowritingteachers said...

Wow -- thanks for sharing. It was just what I needed to hear today.
Ruth

Michelle said...

Great words! thanks for sharing with us

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great points. I'm sure some of the kids loved the kissing research. Funny.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Great advice for writers of any stage in their careers!

I'm mostly able to get my writing done during the day and have time for household chores and personal grooming (but there are those days where my husband calls to say he's leaving work and I say, "It's 5 already? I guess I'd better get dressed. And make dinner. And shower. Not necessarily in that order.").

But when I'm really into writing or rewriting a section, everything falls by the wayside. My poor husband gets shut out of the office, and if he opens the door to ask me a question, he finds a dragon. He's learned to wait until my breaks.

P.S. I saw that you like comments on chocolate, and I started to type, "Chocolate rocks!" But that made me think of those brown things my cat buries in my garden, and then I went "ewwww". So I'll stick to something more palatable, like "Chocolate is yummy."

Rachel Morgan said...

What I worry about is spending so much of my spare non-day-job-related-time writing that there is no time left for LIVING. Thanks for the reminder that writers should EXPERIENCE a rich life and not just write about it (minus the taser, of coure ;]).

booksavors said...

Thank you for sharing your key note. I appreciate your point about "You have something to write that no one else can." My bits and pieces of nothing will amount to something as I continue to write. Thanks. Inspiring. MaryHelen

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I still remember your quote from the conference: "All good writers start as good readers."
Do you feel important now?

Allie said...

Wow. The "Kiersten's Guide to Realer Writing" made me happy. :) I will be sure to use all the skills mentioned to make my writing better! Maybe then I'll give you a little sneak peek of what I've written :)

Pamela said...

Hey, Kiersten! Did you use a powerpoint for this? If so, I would like to have a copy of that powerpoint. Thanks.