Never too old to learn something new (by Patty Blount)
I'm having something of a mid life crisis as we get closer to my autumn birthday. Since this month's topic is about getting schooled, I thought you might enjoy hearing this story.
I'm not a particularly outgoing person. I can be shy and I definitely lack self-confidence. Public speaking terrifies me, but I do it because it was part of my day job and after I was published, it became even more important.
A few years ago, a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America asked me to speak at their monthly meeting. I had two books published at this time and only a few people even knew my name. What could I possibly talk about? How could I talk about it when just the thought of it made me shiver?
My son sat down with me and asked me this question -- "If I asked you what your favorite part of writing is, what would you say?"
I thought about that for a minute and said, "Developing my characters. I adore Dan--"
Rob held up his hand. "I know. We all know how much you adore Dan, Mom." (Dan was the hero in SEND.) "Why did you make Dan a boy instead of a girl?"
"That's how I see him in my mind."
"But you're a girl. Isn't it easier to write girls?"
At this point, I was growing annoyed with Rob. Of course it's not 'easier' --- but you write what the story needs. He began asking me questions about writing boys and writing teenage boys and suddenly, I realized what he'd done.
He'd allowed me to "self-discover" my confidence in writing male characters. The more I talked, the more fired up I got about the topic. We spoke for nearly an hour and he said, "You just delivered a workshop."
I grinned -- torn between feeling proud of myself for being so much more capable than I thought and proud of him for being so damn wise.
There is no better feeling than to witness your child exhibiting wisdom you didn't know he had.
I still suffer from low self-confidence but I do not dismiss opportunities out of hand anymore just because I think I can't. My son taught me that no matter how old you are, it's never old enough to stop learning something new.