From Judy Blume's MasterClass

Finding Ideas - Part 2

Judy discusses the highly personal calculation every writer will make about whether to raid their own lives for material. She also talks about the importance of letting ideas percolate before committing them to paper.

Topics include: Write as Catharsis • Get Away From Your Desk • Write Them All Down


Judy discusses the highly personal calculation every writer will make about whether to raid their own lives for material. She also talks about the importance of letting ideas percolate before committing them to paper.

Topics include: Write as Catharsis • Get Away From Your Desk • Write Them All Down

Judy Blume

Teaches Writing

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The mood that you're in when you're writing a book will come into the book, I think, and be a mood of a book. When I wrote Tiger Eyes in New Mexico, I had moved to New Mexico and I had left Los Alamos, where I started out. And I left a marriage that took place there. And I got down to Santa Fe, and I knew that I wanted to write a book about a family in a place, and that place was going to be very important to the book. And the family story actually came from-- I don't know. I heard a story about a young girl who's lost her father and the mother picked up and moved to another place where she had family. I had no idea when I was writing Tiger Eyes-- it was a long time after-- maybe not until we made the movie of Tiger Eyes-- that I realized this book is about the loss of my father, my father, who I worried so when I was nine years old, would die at 43, died suddenly at 54. And I adored my father. And in my family, we didn't talk much about loss. My mother didn't-- if my father had been living, we would have talked about it, but my mother didn't talk about anything. And I thought I was writing about one thing, and maybe I was-- the story of this girl who had lost her father suddenly and the mother moved them to another place. I mean, that didn't happen in my life. But that loss, that pain-- that's what Tiger Eyes is all about. That's what came up from inside. And when I realized what it was about, it must have been very cathartic for me to write that book about a girl who feels this pain and this loss. I know in Tiger Eyes, there's a scene-- every time I've ever read that scene aloud, I burst into tears. I can't tell you why that is. It involves a Christmas, Hanukkah present that she's bought for her father in New Mexico. It's a candle. I had a candle like that, because I lived in New Mexico for a long time and it had five wicks. And it burned down, but I never got to give that to my father. But there's something about her giving it to her father, even though he's not there anymore, he's dead, that just makes me dissolve. I think that's a very personal decision, what to use and what not to use. And again, sometimes you are using your own personal feelings and experiences and emotions, and you don't even know it. You don't know it until after the fact. I have gotten great ideas in the shower. And the one that I remember best is a whole book came to me in the shower. And that was Superfudge. And I guess it had been about eight years since I wrote Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing-- same characters. And I wanted to write another book, but I just I didn't have an idea for it. And then suddenly, I was in the shower one day, and covered with soap and shampoo, and it came to me and it was such an easy idea. It's laughable to say it out loud. It was like, OK, here's what happens. The family has a new baby, and we go on from there...

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.


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

Valuable insight into the source of ideas. Her suggestions on ways to capture ideas and write good dialogue are reminders to do them consistently.

Wonderful class! I don't write YA but the class still is invaluable for any writer. Judy gives you an idea about the creative side as well as the business side and she is so encouraging and positive, even about the tough side of writing. I would recommend this class to all aspiring writers -- well, heck, to any writer.

Thoroughly enjoyed this course and it helped me recognise that everyone has qualms and anxieties about their work, even great authors.

I got chills watching this because I feel like this is what I finally need to be doing! I feel validated hearing Judy's words of encouragement.



I chose Judy as my first lesson because she takes me back. I remember reading one of her "box sets" (which I still have) on a 2 week family trip in the 70's.

Lenore B.

I find it refreshing that Judy Blume keeps a seemingly 'random' notebook. I have always started in the middle of a story with characters talking and feeling and I have difficulty with outlines. I 'overwrite' but then I can go back and re-craft a beginning and an end and have rich dialogue to use here and there

A fellow student

Listening to an accomplished writer talk about the process she goes through to create is wonderful, and most inspiring. My notebook has just got going.


Lovely lady, but I think it needs to be made clear that so far, the classes are designed for beginners.

Cathy C.

these are always so helpful and my favorite books are from Judy Bloom so this is a dream come true to be taught by a book writing legend.

Ariana B.

I loved the idea of having the little box of ideas just to know that something's always there. Not being able to come up with ideas is always something that I hated the thought of, but having that security blanket would help a lot. I'd like to get better at making sure I do write things down. I've started carrying a little notebook around with me so that even when I'm out, I can have it with me.

Katie C.

Dear Mom and Dad, How are you? I am fine. Camp is fun. Miss Cindy taught us which side of the road we should walk on. Mary had rats in her water bucket. Tonight we had hot dogs. Later we get ice cream Love, Katie

Anthony T.

As a hobby writer this lesson was super motivating!  For an accomplished author like Judy, sharing how she structures and organizes an otherwise random idea process is reassuring. Going to put down my phone just to observe more and reorganize my notebook so it’ll be easier for me to write thoughts down. The workbook exercise was also super helpful in putting words to memories and emotions from a much simpler time. Also not sure why my profile photo is showing up sideways... =/

Julienne R.

I had a hard time getting started with my class. I signed up in September and today I finally started....with tears in my eyes! I had to have my grown daughter help me with signing up for the class. I am not totally computer literate. After signing up, It took me me two months to actually try to get into the class. I then had issues with not being able to access the class online. I became discouraged and other life happenings arose, as they often do. I decided in January to try to figure out how, again to get into the class....that I paid for over 3 mos ago! I have to take deep breaths to calm myself down to "learn" computer lingo. I finally consulted You Tube for help. Of course the spoke to fast for me to keep up. Looong story short, after having to reset my password 3 times... I FINALLY HAVE TAKEN MY FIRST COURSE! I had to pause it due to crying! I am sooo happy and grateful that I can now move on and accomplish my dream of being a writer!!!! So grateful for this class!. J. Roberson

Ruth W.

It is freeing to consider that not all ideas need to be developed. Some will, some will lead to other ideas, and some are just a good exercise. So often we focus on destination and end results instead of considering the steps of the journey.