John Neufeld is a published author of children’s books and young adult books. Some of the published credits of John Neufeld include Edgar Allan, Lisa, Bright and Dark: A Novel, The Handle and the Key, and Freddy’s Book. John also provides political commentary for NPR.

 

No, all I knew was that I wanted to write. Writing for and about and to young readers was an accident, courtesy of the reviewers who first put Edgar Allan in the “juvenile” category.  I always thought it was “for all ages.”

 

I selected it because English was my best study in school, I enjoyed reading, and I loved writing.  Also I liked the idea of being  “self-employed” and having no date at which I was forced to retire. When I started, I looked for a job in book publishing, insofar as that was what I loved most: reading and writing.

 

Some of the bumps were of my own making, I regret to say.  Some weren’t.  But what is there to do? If you believe in what you do, you press on and start again.

 

The understanding that though decades may pass, the problems of youth remain constant.  A few good ideas and some great characters whom I love. Also, over the years, I had read and read my “competition” in order to stay up-to-date.  I became adept at discussing others’ works and directions, and found respondents.  I also wrote often about issues in children’s’ and Y.A. work, and reviewed the same books for The New York Times.

 

A larger sense of the world around them than they have presently.  It’s natural that young people believe the universe revolves around them and their interests, clothes, music, ideas.  But time to READ is key in a successful life…not just on a screen in front of them, but in newspapers, books, magazines.  They have the time.  I wish they’d use it to explore outside their schools, blocks, towns, countries.

 

Calm down. Slow down. Draw back.  Get perspective if you can.  Find who among our friends is trustworthy and perhaps a little smarter than you are, someone who is daring enough to suggest, advise, listen.  This need not be restricted to your own age-group.  Find an adult whom you trust, listen, and don’t be defensive.  And never turn down an offer or a solution until and unless you’ve had 24 hours to consider it. Learn to distinguish between genuine concern and caring from criticism.

 

I want to be doing exactly what I am doing until “that” time: writing for readers of all ages in all formats, and having fun doing so.  You’d be surprised at how much fun it is to watch a character take shape and surprise you by becoming stronger than you are and going off indirections you had not anticipated.

 

Only one thing. The realization that if you choose writing as a career, you’re entirely on your own.  That, of course, is what I wanted, but isolation is not always good for the soul.  Get out, look around, and experience life.  Otherwise you’ll have nothing or certainly very little about which to write.

 

You can find me at johnneufeld.com or via my blog, ”Tap-dancing in the Hall.”

 

Thanks for your time John and keep up the good work! Our youth needs more people like you!

Daniel Blanchard

Author and Speaker of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series.

www.GranddaddysSecrets.com

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