This post introduces my blog's new venture, LikeWise. Once a month, LikeWise will feature places where like-minded creative teens can connect. I hope throughout the year to offer an eclectic mix of programs, some known and others more obscure. I'm starting with a big one.
By now, most people on the planet know of John Green, the contemporary YA author who wrote The Fault in Our Stars (recently made into a movie) and Paper Towns (movie soon to follow). And many will have heard of John's brother Hank who helped form the Nerdfighters website. Together, they have created an army of dynamic fans. Nerdfighters is "A place where nerds gather to play. We fight to increase awesome and decrease suck."
Nerdfighters is like a warehouse full of rooms for creative brains. Behind every door, there's an invitation to join in a project or discussion or intriguing challenge. Like collaborative YouTube videos and almost 3000 Nerdfighter subgroups (writers, poets, artists, readers, Iowans, no kidding, Iowans). Once a week, The Art Assignment (produced by PBS) introduces artists from around the country who present assignments. The Sci Show features short, funny videos that inform about everything science, and Crash Course teaches history, anatomy, astronomy and politics. See what I mean? Doors galore!
John and Hank Green used YouTube to unite and ignite a community of creative young minds. Nerdfighters is a powerful force making positive changes in the world. Every year, the Project for Awesome raises money for worthy causes. Last December over one million dollars was donated! It's hard to imagine what the Green brothers will do next. This month, Hank interviewed President Obama and he included fan's questions. Their voices were heard by an ever-expanding online audience. Artists, writers and readers spend a lot of time alone with our passions. But that doesn't mean we can't also be part of a community.
I said a sad goodbye to the Christmas tree, lights and decorations last weekend. The world always seems a little bleak after the holidays. It isn't just the loss of tinsel and cheerful displays. Spirits also take a dive. Is it because we've lost that sense of anticipation? I don't know about you, but I need something to look forward to, something that makes my insides tingle every time I think of it.
Valentine's Day doesn't do it for me. I have nothing on my writing agenda this year. No exciting conferences, no contests, not even any goals. I'm thinking I better change that. Setting one goal with one date attached can make a difference. If I commit to a children's writer's conference in June, then I'll want to present the best version of my current novel there. That's motivation to polish my messy story. So revision happens. And that little tingle in my belly keeps me typing.
The conference isn't on my calender yet, but I do have a new goal for this blog. While writing November's post, Finding Your Creative Path, I recognized how important it is to find like-minded souls and mentors who support and encourage your passion. The sooner, the better. So I'm adding a second monthly post called LikeWise, featuring venues that connect teen artists, writers and readers.
Last year, I challenged myself to create a sketch for each post. But it held up publication. So this year, I only promise to share sketches IF they happen before I'm done with my post. Don't hold your breath. However, I will be sharing gorgeous art from my set of illustrator biographies published by Peacock Press/Bantam Books in the 1970s. The one above is by Nancy Ekholm Burkert from Hans Christian Andersen's book, The Fir Tree. The text for the illustration was: " . . . a hare would often come . . ."
I hope your 2015 calender is filling up with dates and goals that make your insides tingle. If not, this is a good day to find some.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist. And creatures, always creatures. I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti of Dunham Lit.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor