Last week Sean and I were in the Hamptons (Yes, the Hamptons!) speaking at a writing camp. There were roughly 25 kids between the ages of 15-20. Their interests varied wildly–from songwriters to poets to fiction, some of them were dabbling in everything.
Sean and I were brought to discuss life as two writer’s in one house and how we deal with that. But when we were going over our bullet points prior to the chat, we couldn’t help but think that these kids had a long way to go before they are in a co-habitation artist sort of home with their lover. We talked about it a few minutes, but overall, I wasn’t sure that’s what they wanted to hear.
So what DID they want to know? We ended up asking them a lot of questions. We talked about branding and marketing–two things that I’ve always believed are wildly underrepresented when educating artists. We talked about the power of knowing business and gave them a list of fabulous books to read, including How To Make Friends and Influence People, Story and Book in a Month.
We opened the floor to questions and hands really shot up–and thank GOD for that! It’s a scary thing talking to a room full of teenagers. And we had no idea if they were listening…let alone interested in what we were saying. But when those hands raised in the air, it was like a wave of relief that they listened enough to have questions for us.
At the end of the talk, I encouraged ALL the kids to visit my website and email me. I told them to send me some pages and I will give them a critique–particularly fiction. One girl had a CD she had put together, which she handed to me. Talk about being prepared! That was exactly the sort of business sense we were talking about. Have materials ready. Don’t just hand them out to everyone and anyone, but have them prepared so that if someone opens that door, you can be the first to hop in. Sean and I listened to her songs on the way home and they were really well done.
So, if the young writers are on my site right now, trying to gather the courage to email me–consider this your invitation! Send me a message!