It was a blast from the past. I was walking through a labyrinthine high school hallway, marveling at how tall the lockers were, and my older sister was there with me in the same place. The last time that happened, I was a 15 year-old freshman, and the memories were coming back! But this time, neither of us were the students; we were both the teachers. Or so we thought. Last week I had the opportunity to teach a segment of Ms. Sherrington’s Creative Writing class, and ironically, I’m going to tell you what I learned instead of taught.
As a published author, my job that day was to encourage the students in defining and communicating a productive message arising from their unique experiences to share with the world via the written word. After a rapid-fire blitz through the process of publishing, I had talked quite long enough (and all the students I’ve ever worked with said, “Amen!”). It was time for immediate hands-on application: the class had to accomplish every step of the publishing process in less than 10 minutes. Even I am too timid to test my big sister’s time limit for me in her realm of authority!
Step 1: The Message
Maddie provided the core concept the class decided the world needed to know: Be with the people you’re with. Obviously relevant in a world of ubiquitous smart phones and handheld devices, where texts are sent over distances measured in inches, uninterrupted face-time is unparalleled in relational quality (Click to tweet)!
Step 2: Research
How do we convey the message in a way others haven’t? Not wanting to miss out on this publishing endeavor, Ms. Sherrington explained a book already written on the topic to help specify the message in an alternative, fresh way. The result? When you’re with people, disconnect yourself from everything else.
Step 3: Writing
Now to put the finely-tuned idea into actual written words. Marshall became our author. With confident and surprisingly legible penmanship, he wrote the words “Be with the People”. Preach it brother. So precise, so deep, and so written down.
Step 4: Editing
But not perfect. Zoe, with an acute sense of how the audience might best absorb the message, changed and added a few words to give Marshall’s brief manuscript a little more panache. The final edited and proofread manuscript now stated: “Be with people who make you happy.”
Step 5: Layout and Illustrations/Cover Design
Now to put the manuscript onto the book page! As you can see below, Joey beautifully formatted the manuscript into Page 1, grabbing the reader’s attention with the bold red font and use of ALL CAPS. Kayla effortlessly captured the essence of the short tome with a heart-warming image of uninterrupted face-time offering several comforting hues of dry-erase marker. The final title of the book hearkened back to a simplified, accessible version of the original concept, and “Be with the People Man” was born.
Step 6: Launch
Wasting no time, the class decided the publication date would be that day, and Israel used his leadership skills of irresistible persuasion and delegation to assign Ryan, Nate, and Jake to initial book promotion via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Boom. “Be with the People Man” was available worldwide!
Step 7: Marketing and Publicity
This is where I get to play a role! To extend the scope of the class’ published message beyond the social media circle of these accomplished students, I am using this blog and all of my social media and internet outlets to promote this book! Like, comment, and share liberally! Moreover, the book is free and as easy to access as downloading a picture. Literally! 🙂
So here’s my official shout out to the world: Enjoy “Be with the People Man” by Marshall T. today! It’s the shortest book you’ll ever read, and yet it might just remind you of something even us older folks used to take for granted and now may need to relearn. When you’re with people, especially those who make you happy, disconnect from everything else (Click to tweet). The wisdom of youth from the lessons of youth, published start to finish in less than 10 minutes! Well done Creative Writing students; keep sharing your message with the world!
Did you know that students created all the illustrations for the Healing Hereafter book series as well? Check out their fantastic works of art and the significant messages they convey; the series is available free and instantly here!