Houghton Mifflin Harcourt invited Girls Write Now mentees into their New York City headquarters to talk about publishing and to pair our writers with editors for a professional, hands-on experience. Caroline Lin writes about the day.
While on my way to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publisher’s office, I must admit that I was nervous since I had never been to a publisher’s office before. For some reason that I still cannot explain, I immediately thought that it would be an overly decorated place with strict people who analyzed each word that would come out of my mouth. However, when I stepped into the room, I was pleasantly surprised as everyone had an extremely welcoming attitude and genuine smiles. Each Girls Write Now mentee was paired with an editor from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publisher. Once the discussions started, the entire room was filled with vivacity and creativity. After finishing the editing portion of the afternoon, it was presentation time! The editors helped us immensely by giving each one of us individualized advice as well as general tips on how to present our writing in an original and effective way. After the visit, each girl left not only with a wonderful piece, but with more confidence in public speaking and in herself.
Although HMHP already stands for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publisher, it can also be used to remember four important lessons!
Have an open mind and try new things!
This was a new experience for me, and now, I cannot even explain how happy and grateful I am to have had this opportunity.
Make sure you are specific! Make sure you are you!
One writing tip that I learned when speaking to an editor is that you should always be specific. You should provide details and examples that are relatable to others but perhaps only you would have thought about because of your perspective and your experiences. The best writing is not vague or cliché but instead lets your voice shine.
* Disclaimer: I see how this piece of advice, “make sure you are you!” is perhaps the definition of cliché, but I had to add to this valuable lesson.
Heads up! You got this!
I am giving you a heads up that you should keep your head up as well as your voice and confidence level high during a presentation.
Pizza? Paprika? Pumpkin?
Your writing can truly be about anything that you are passionate about. In your pieces, you can combine many of your interests. I think that we can all agree that life would not be complete without delicious food. So, if you have some cooking tips and want to help the rest of us live a complete life, write a cookbook! At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publisher, Girls Write Now mentees met editors of all sorts of pieces from non-fiction to novels to cookbooks.
I would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publisher for this fun and empowering experience!