Writing

Career Journey

Judy Blume

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.

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Judy Blume
Teaches Writing
In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.
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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...


Write timeless stories

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.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Emotional, inspiring and really useful for me who is someone with an idea and a story but wanted guidance on how to develop. I love Judy Blume (even more than I did when I read her books as a 14 year old 20+ years ago!) Very satisfied.

I loved Judy Blum personality. It was interesting to hear about her process. I learned that you can be sensitive and gentle and determined at the same time.

One of the benefits of finding a community of writers is learning that they are going through the same things you are. Judy Blume was kind enough to share her journey and it's just what I needed to hear. I recently finished my first book and starting working with a content editor. After I learn how to improve this book - it's on to book two in the series!

This class is a fountain of youth taught by a natural spring of spirit and charm.


Comments

A fellow student

Oh my god I love this episode. I'm almost sad the class is going to end. Judy is just brimming with compassion and passion and taking her class has taught me as much about life as books. I'm so grateful to be able to take her class and learn about her process and her experiences and opinions. It was funny how many times she got so emotional as she was sharing her experience, but the funnier thing is I actually tear up now whenever she does it haha!

Angelena

I was ecstatic when she talked about the One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo. That was one of my absolute favorite books as a kid. I read Super Fudge and Starring Sally J Freedman As Herself, but the Green Kangaroo is really what made me love Judy Blume. That might sound strange to some people who have read more of her work... but it's still pretty cool that a children's book could have stuck with me this long. In fact, that just shows how powerful an impact Judy Blume has on her readers. <3

Ashley D.

I absolutely love Judy Blume and her beautiful and open personality. She is a true light of warmth and goodness.

Rachel M.

I remember when I got the email saying my first short story was accepted. I was at work on my lunch break. But see, I worked at a nursery school and it was nap time, so I had to keep in my excited squealing and just keep my mouth open letting the silent screams out!

Angela U.

What a wonderful message from a wonderful person. The warmth, the personality of Judy just shines through her humanity and vulnerability.

MK D.

Judy is clearly a beautiful and courageous person and writer. She has given me hope that I can accomplish my goals as a writer. Thank you for your heartfelt encouragement and also, so honestly sharing your journey. If I am ever in Florida I will make every effort to visit your bookshop. ~ Best wishes! Kitty (PS; You are gorgeous!)

Carmen A.

i was so touched by your ending in this lesson, judy. the love you so obviously have for books, the kindness and respect you show for writers who created those books, wanting to lovingly display their stories. i was touched my you saying you loved the books, and the writers who wrote them, and so much emotion in your voice. i will carry not only your books forever in my heart, but that image of you loving the book i will finish and publish, and know that it will be lovingly displayed in your book shop in key west! thank you, judy! ❤💖

Ricardo M.

What a beautiful class & a lovely professor. Thank you, Judy for your gift & sensitivity - I learned so much. To all my collegues in here, I wish you all the best and hope to see you in a Bookshelf soon !

Bob S.

I never thought of myself as a writer. My sister read some of my stories I wrote about a teenager who solves mysteries. She liked the stories and last year for Christmas, she gave me this Master Class as a gift. I enjoy writing the stories; I have 18 mysteries now with the same characters. I'm not sure I will ever publish, but it is fun. Thanks Judy Blume for the class (and my sister). The class was interesting and I picked up many great ideas.

Mia S.

"My next birthday, I'll be 80; I don't want to be locked up anymore, I'm too happy to be around people. I love that, I love the energy of being at the bookshop. The first season, [we] worked seven days a week, and that was a lot. It's exhausting. And I'm out front, so I'm on my feet out there all day, every day, meeting wonderful people - locals, snowbirds, visitors from all over the world, and there's just so many book lovers, and they're so excited to find a real - I don't know if we should say 'old-fashioned', but - a real indie bookstore, where they can come in and talk to staff about books. We now have three paid employees, and during our high season which is winter, we have a lot of volunteers. One knows poetry, one used to work at a bookshop in the UK, and they're real book lovers and they can help our customers find what they're looking for which is great. I can't tell you how excited I am every day to get up and go to work, and every day (I've written for a long time), I get up and I say, 'Thank you thank you, I don't have to write to day, I can go to my bookshop.' For me it's a wonderful change. I could never got up and not have something to do that's creative, and there's a lot of creative energy that goes into - I used to call it 'petting my books,' I love displaying them. I love moving them around. I love handling them, telling people about them. I've learned the other side of the story. I'm not sure that it would have been a good thing for me to know when I was writing. When you only have so much room in a bookshop, eventually books are going to go back so that new books can come in. That is so, so hard. My mentor's said to me, 'Judy, you're going to have to learn to be ruthless.' And I said, 'No, because I know what it's like. I know that feeling about, 'Please keep my book in your bookshop, please give my book as much time as you can.' I will give them as much time and attention as I possibly can, because I love them and I love you for writing them."