Skyping with Maureen Johnson and Boone County Public Library’s Teen Writers Group

Yesterday, I had the chance to join in with my library’s Teen Writers Group for a conversation (via Skype) with YA author, Maureen Johnson. Some one Johnsons titles include, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, and The Name of the Star.

The Teen Writers Group (or, as they refer to themselves, the TWITs (Teen Writers Tuesdays)) meet once a month to workshop their pieces, discuss writing techniques, and hang out. They write everything from novel length works, to short stories, to screenplays, to fanfiction (plus much more) and are a very unique and talented group of young adults. The TWITs were able to schedule this conversation with Johnson due to the magic of Tumblr. They entered into the contest, not really expecting to win, and were very pleasantly surprised when they did. How great an opportunity for young writers? They were beyond eager to both share their love of writing with Johnson, as well as pick her brain for specific insight. I think that this sort of interaction with real authors is exactly what young aspiring writers need to experience.

Though I won’t share exactly what Johnson said, since it was a personal conversation, and I dont think its especially respectful for me to divulge all of her comments on the internet without her consent, I will touch on a few bases she mentioned.

One, particular comment she made was in response to a question I asked towards the end.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to young, aspiring authors? Her answer? Dare to Suck. I feel confident that I can share this response with all of you, because, well she’s already shared it in her video, Dare to Suck which was posted on John Green’s YouTube channel Vlogbrothers. This is definitely one of the most important lessons you can learn as a writer, and an important lesson to learn about your favorite authors. The first time you try something: you will NOT be perfect. And sucking at something, then learning from it and growing to become better is how you learn and how you perfect your skill. I couldn’t have asked for better advice

Now, finally I hate to admit to the fact that I haven’t (yet) read any of Maureen Johnson’s works. I picked up Suit Scarlett while I was at the library and have added it to my ever-growing pile of To-Reads. I’m really excited about it though. She was such a genuine and FUN person to talk to. I feel very much like I felt with David Levithan. How can a person so wonderful not write wonderful books? You can definitely look for a review from me on this title at some point in the future.

Go pick up a book by Maureen Johnson!