Are you disappointed with your literature teachers?
Do you wish they gave you professional feedback on your writing, but somehow, they never have time to read what you wrote?
Are you worried that your poor grades in literature class will decide whether you should be an author or not?
Do you feel resentment towards a teacher who told you that writing and publishing books was hard?
Then, read this article.
As a teenager, I was always at war with teachers of Polish. There were several reasons for that:
- They would mark my writing poorly;
- I didn’t want to accept any criticism;
- I was sure they tried to tell me I had no talent;
- I believed everyone wanted me to give up on writing;
- The teachers weren’t writers and couldn’t give proper writing advice;
- They were too busy to read my stories;
Now, as a grown up, I think that it was all unnecessary drama. I mostly got good advice from my Polish teachers. They tried to help me as much as they could. But, they didn’t have all the answers.
I don’t doubt that they knew A LOT about classical literature and stylistic devices. However, writing a book is much more than that. It requires special skills, patience, practice and experience.
Teachers aren’t required to know these things, because they aren’t writers. And that’s ok.
What does it teach us?
That you have to collect information on how to become an author from different sources.
And best sources of knowledge are other authors. Nowadays, with the knowledge of foreign languages, and the internet, it’s really easy to find advice given by authors. Google is a lot like the djinn from the lamp; whatever you ask it, it responds. Don’t waste this resource. Start googling what you don’t know, and you will get a ton of information instantly – probably more than one teacher could ever give you (it’s a lot like hitting the library).
Be humble and willing to change your mindset if this is what the situation advises you to do. When I was 21, I was so proud of being a novelist that I refused to seek readers on my own. I was sure that readers will find me, because my novel was somehow “special”. But, there are over 100 000 000 books in the whole world. I stayed stuck for 3 years without making any progress, and it almost squandered my writing career. In the end, I was faced with the choice: either to take advice from indie authors, or quit being an author alltogether. You know what I’ve chosen.
It’s difficult to take advice when you don’t have a teacher you could ask. But, never let the lack of the teacher stop you from uncovering your potential.
The greatest lessons are taught by life anyways, and not in class.
Sometimes, it happens that the best student meets one of the two types of horrible teachers:
- The teacher who doesn’t care. It happened to me in junior high school. I wanted to prepare for the regional contest in English, but my English teacher was like “yeah, whatever, do what you want”. Each time I brought him extra homework, he shrugged. It was obvious he taught us not out of passion, but because he had to. Such a teacher won’t help you become a novelist. Get rid of your expectations.
- The teacher who never praises you. In high school, I studied almost all the time, but it was nearly impossible to fulfill our teachers’ expectations. They wanted us to be better, and better, and better. We were constantly compared between one another, and they even made guesses who would score better results on finals. I felt unappreciated and like my GPA was more important than who I was as a person.
When we analyze both these examples, it’s obvious that the bad teachers don’t know how to appreciate a student that works hard. The reason for this is, teachers are afraid that a good word will make the student stop working hard. Which is not true, a good word can make wonders.
If you don’t believe in yourself, because your teacher didn’t believe in you, then you need to stop seeing them as the ultimate judge. You can become everything you wish, and if you want to become a published author who sells many books, this is entirely up to you. Don’t let a teacher who never tried, or gave up too soon, take your dream away from you.
Learning the classical literature is important, but what’s even more important, is studying the genre in which you want to write, as well as developing the style that fits your writing the most.
I hope this helps.