Arts & Entertainment
Lesson time 18:26 min
Judy started writing because she was desperate for a creative outlet. She shares how her desire to feel normal led her to create enduring emotional connections with readers who wanted to feel the same way.
It seems impossible looking back that this has been my life and that I've been lucky enough to find a way to use the creative energy that has been inside me. It seems impossible that 50 years have gone by because it feels like yesterday, really, that I was starting out. I remember when Margaret was published, and it was reviewed in the New York Times, which seemed like an impossible thing. Anyway, and it was in a roundup of seven books, and it was reviewed last. And it said, the best of the seven and something else wonderful. And I thought, my God! That's when I really thought, maybe I can do this. Maybe I am a writer. That's the first time that it really hit me, I think, that this impossible dream was coming true. I've had plenty of bad reviews since then, but that first one that made me feel that I could be a writer. [MUSIC PLAYING] Before email, I used to get so many letters from kids who read my books that in the '80s, I decided to put them together in a book that I called Letters from Judy: What Your Kids Wish They Could Tell You. Because so many kids wrote about, I can't tell my parents, so I'm telling you. Because of course, it was safe to tell me. So they poured their hearts out and their guts. And they they asked me their questions. And I thought I wanted to share this book with parents, with teachers, and with other kids who could see themselves. The letters are connected with autobiographical essays. So you find out a lot about me, and I share a lot about what the children were writing. And these are a few letters from that book. "Dear Judy, my mom never talks about the things young girls think most about. She doesn't know how I feel. I don't know where I stand in the world. I don't know who I am. That's why I read, to find myself. From Elizabeth, age 13". This means absolutely the world to me, everything to me, to know that my books have touched young readers and readers of all ages in such a personal way, that we're connected in this way. And when I read a letter like this about a girl who just wants to feel normal, that's me. I was a girl who just wanted to feel normal. So I never dreamed of anything like this when I started to write. You know, my first dreams were very simple. Please, let somebody want to publish something that I write. And then I get a little more greedy and I say, OK, now something's been published. Maybe someday I'll hear from somebody who's read one of my books. And then when that came true, I just stopped. I just stopped. I never dreamed of this kind of success over so many years. People ask me, what's your legacy. And the only thing I can think to say-- and the most important thing-- is that I've connected with readers for so many generations now. And to me, I couldn't ask for anything else. [MUSIC PLAYING] When I was in my mid 20s and these creative urges...
Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.
This class was encouraging and helpful. Great class!
It was a pleasure to learn from an author so critical to my own childhood epiphany that you could write without ego
Great advice. Writing for children can be a discouraging business.
She's open about her feelings on the process. It's like learning from a close family friend. You don't doubt that she's being 100% genuine.