Thursday, October 5, 2017

New Write for Children Class with Jolie Stekly

Disappointed that the UW Writing for Children's class is canceled? Instructor Jolie Stekly has set up a new course! It starts in less than two weeks, and there's a registration discount until Saturday! 

How long have you been involved with the local children’s and YA book community?
I started by taking a course with the beloved Peggy King Anderson fifteen years ago, not knowing a thing and then realizing how much there was to learn. Peggy’s class introduced me to the SCBWI and the SCBWI opened up a talented and generous community. 

How will this series be different from the UW Continuing Education program?
Other than the location and offering it at nearly half the cost, not much will be different. I won’t be able to offer continuing education credits or clock hours, but the course content will be the same, and I still plan to bring in guest speakers, which students really love. 

Do attendees share their work? Is it optional?
They do share their work. Sharing starts in small groups. I don’t require anyone to do anything, but I’ve never had anyone not want to participate. Peer critique is so valuable. This class is a safe place to share. Writers gain so much by learning to give feedback to others, and the feedback received is invaluable to writers. 

How has teaching affected your own writing process?
I often feel I’m the lucky one. You’ve probably heard the expression, “If you want to master something, teach it.” I can’t say I’ve mastered anything, but I have learned immensely from every person who’s been in one of my classes and from teaching each and every session.  

What has been the highlight of your teaching path so far?
The people! Teaching in this industry, particularly this series of classes, has brought the most amazing people into my world. Each year when the course ends, my connection with the students does not. We remain peers and friends, staying in touch. With many, I get to continue to act as coach and/or instructor. I’ve also had the good fortune of offering classes to those who’ve completed the course and still want to continue to learn, grow, and meet goals. This creates new relationships between the different class years. And now, six years in, I’m starting to attend book launches to celebrate students’ books. How cool is that? And there’s many other success to cheer on, as well: completing projects, signing with agents, receiving manuscript requests, awards, etc. 

I’m most proud of the strong peer relationships that develop out of this series of classes. They are some of the strongest I’ve ever seen. I could gush on and on about they ways in which these groups support each member and continue to work toward their goals. Fostering those peer connections is important to me.

Testimonials and more registration details for the Writing for Children class available on Jolie's website

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