The value of a good writing teacher

It was my privilege in 2001 to take a fiction writing course through the Continuing Education Department at Queens University in Charlotte. The instructor was Judith H. Simpson. Judy was a jewel and a natural-born teacher. She always had time for each of her students, and she organized and moderated the Queens Writers Group — a group that any of her former students were eligible to join.

When I get stuck, bogged down, confused, or just need a little encouragement in my writing life, I can turn to the words Judy left behind in her book (Foundations of Fiction), my notes from her class, e-mails from her that I printed and kept, or postings she made on our yahoo group’s site.

Judy Simpson's book cover 002

Judy had a way of explaining things in a nutshell and giving examples that clearly illustrated the points she was making. She delighted in seeing her students improve and succeed. I wish Judy were still here to nudge me along to get a literary agent and get my historical novel, The Spanish Coin, published.

It has been my experience that most writers are happy to share what they have learned with those of us who are still just beginning our journeys as writers. If you aspire to be a writer, I hope you will find a writing instructor/mentor like Judy Simpson. Through her class and caring, Judy helped me to take my first steps as a writer. She gave me the confidence to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to keep writing after she was gone. Come to think of it, is that not the true definition of a teacher?

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