From the time children are born, they have a built-in fan base between parents, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives. These fans help guide, encourage, and motivate children for future adventures. This idea of finding a fan base hit me like a bolt of lightning in the middle of the night, and I’ve mulled it around in my mind for hours now. As adults where do we gather our fan base and share our biggest goals?
The photo above is the screen shot I took from the national small college rugby championship feed. We could only afford for one parent to fly to Pennsylvania; I sent the Mr. first class for the experience of a life time. Eldest hung up his baseball cleats, after twelve years of playing, and slipped into new spikes his freshman year of college. His confidence in his ability to play a new sport and succeed blew my mind. Through hours of hard work studying plays, watching film, and stepping out on the practice field multiple times a week he earned a starting spot on the team. Luck would have it the stars aligned and his team went on winning the small college national championship that year. Last year they made regionals, but too many injuries plagued their team. I’ve asked the eldest what made him switch from baseball to rugby since he’s still a die-hard lover of the diamond. His response surprised me a little. He said, “You and Dad always support me to go for my dreams without limitations. I know baseball will always be around, and I can play softball well into my golden years. But the opportunity for me to try to new things is dwindling. As I get closer to ending my academic career and embark on my next chapters this is the time for change. Rugby is a way for me to learn something new, keep active, and be a part of a team.” He’s also joined a build and design team for F3 racing cars. They are a group of engineers from several disciplines who create and test new aerodynamic designs, electronic systems, and hybrid fuel sources. He still attributes his willingness for joining different groups or trying something new directly with our continued encouragement and support.
For years in education, the idea of an authentic audience for young and emerging writers has been a buzz phrase. Educational companies put forth several media outlets safe for kids to upload and share pieces they have created. I’ve always shied away from public social media outlets because my students’ ages leave me uncomfortable with the mass public scrutiny. However, application programs such as Edmodo, Kidblog, Google Classroom, and Haiku have opened up a way to share work and responses in a controlled environment. I often suggest to kids who are avid writers to set up a Wattpad account if they want to dip their feet into a little more public forum where they can receive feedback under their own pen name or handle.
My own writing and ideas were kept from public scrutiny for years. Of course, I wrote scripts for short thirty to sixty-second commercials, but directors, actors, graphics, and post production editors took those scripts and made them so much more than the written words themselves; I never considered this a public forum of my own work. Over the last two years, I’ve stretched and grown as a writer exploring different avenues for sharing my creations. Some have failed miserably while others have grown roots and become more than I ever dreamed.
My Master’s thesis was published in an educational journal and a few big names in education have reached out and opened up lines of communication. The National Writing Project opened the door for me to lose a little more of my introverted personality and share the fictional works (and some nonfictional pieces) with a new authentic audience. However, the biggest eye-opener, as a writer, is the openness of the Indie writing community. These authors and readers share a bond and fan base like nothing I’ve seen before. When authors need support for a cause near and dear to their hearts, their fans do all they can to spread the word, donate, or volunteer something which fills the need. They promote one each other’s works, write reviews, and provide sounding boards on multiple forums. These grassroots style promotions created a new branch of authorship which has changed the back bone of publishing. The strength iof the relationships being built is a direct sign of the times correlating with the 21st century technology advancements.
As I dip my feet further into this world, I’m constantly admiring the depth with which each facet of the process opens new doors. While my family still holds me up and cheers me on each and every day, this new community of friends and colleagues still blows my mind away. Quite simply, the connection for success is still directly attributable to the family, friends, and fans who continue to encourage and motivate you through both the thick and thin times. I’m only embarking on my journey, shoot I haven’t even left the dock yet, but the incredible reception and wealth of shared information compares to nothing I’ve experienced before. As everyone settles into their daily routines I ask you who’s your biggest fan?