My daughter, aged 6, entered a writing contest recently for a poem she wrote and won. It will be published in a book this summer. An editor (and founder of the company) came to our house last week to meet with her and talk about the poem and discuss ideas on changing the ending. I sat there for moral support but had to keep my mouth shut because this was a moment between the two of them and this was a piece of writing that wasn’t my own.
Later, after the editor left, my daughter said that she didn’t want to change the ending because she liked it just the way she wrote it. The editor also had suggestions for an extra line break but again, my daughter read her poem out loud to me and said she didn’t like the extra break.
The next day though, after having had time to let the advice sink in, she played around with her words and line breaks and added her own spin to it. Honestly, the original was great. The new one was also fine. Was is improved? I’m not entirely sure.
Sometimes, a writer has to know when to stick to their convictions and stand behind their writing. It was a good lesson for both of us. My daughter, who is painfully shy, learned to speak for herself and I let her decide what she wanted to do.This was important for her own self esteem.
It also showed me that when someone gives you advice on something you’ve written, you should take time to let it sink in before plowing ahead with the changes. Sometimes, taking it in a different direction might be better. Other times, the original is best.