From Judy Blume's MasterClass

Career Journey

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.

Topics include: Connect With Readers • Find Your Chutzpah • Celebrate the Milestones • Cherish the Highlights • Share the Love

Play

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.

Topics include: Connect With Readers • Find Your Chutzpah • Celebrate the Milestones • Cherish the Highlights • Share the Love

Judy Blume

Teaches Writing

Learn More

Preview

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.

I can't express enough how illuminating this class was for me. I, like Ms. Blume, have a highly creative side that is expressed in various fashions but writing a children's book was the most surprising of those. This class helped me not only embrace the idea but provided me with a validation I needed to proceed. She is a wonderful teacher. Thank you Ms. Blume.

I just LOVE Judy's honesty and expression. It's an honor to be able to spend time with her!

This so far is the BEST Masterclass I've watched here. What I loved about it is that Judy does not give us the rules of how to write; she just tells her own story, and that will teach you everything you need to know. It's a true masterclass for a good listener. And Judy? I mean come one, what a human! I'm absolutely in love with her.

I realized that some of what I was doing already was really working for me. Some things, like obsessing over plot, could be seen instead as telling a story and that I didn't have to know everything right away. Characters and dialogue are good movers. Start with what I know.

Comments

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."

Mia S.

"I've had so many defining moments. I feel so lucky from that first moment to being offered an honorary degree at Mount Holyoke. I couldn't take standardized tests - I took them, but I panicked and couldn't answer any of the questions, and so I did my SATs by randomly filling in the blanks. Of course when you do that, you don't do very well. I could not apply to Mount Holyoke. Fortunately, I got into some good schools anyway because I was a good student - but my SAT scores were as low as you could get, as you can imagine when you answer at random and you never read the questions. I knew I'd have to give a commencement address, but I knew what I was going to do because I looked up Mount Holyoke and discovered that college was no longer insisting that you give SAT scores. They were also admitting young women based on their portfolios and their recommendations from school. I read this and thought, 'Yes, this is what I'm going to say.' I got up there on the stage and told my story to the graduates about why I was so proud to get this honorary degree - because even though I couldn't go when I was 18 because I was too scared to take those tests, here I was now and I wasn't scared anymore. About a year and a half ago, my husband and I founded a bookstore in Key West; we are affiliated with The Great Books and Books in Miami. When we got to town 20 years ago we have four or five bookstores, and now we were down to one used bookstore. We really wanted a shop - I mean, this is a town of writers and artists and people who love to read, love books, and we just felt we wanted to do this. Like many things I do, we didn't think this through - 'What would this really mean if it happened and we got to have a wonderful full-service bookshop? What would it mean for us?' And we just went with it. It is so incredibly exciting. It came at the right time for me in my professional life. After 50 years, and after five years writing 'In the Unlikely Event,' I really felt, I've done what I wanted to do, and I'm not going to write any more long novels. I'm not saying that I'll never write another book - I don't know, there are little things brewing on the back-burners, but not a three-to-five year project."