Born on this day in Elizabeth, New Jersey, prolific writer Judy Blume (1938-) is beloved by fans for being able to capture the deepest feelings of her characters as they go through realistic experiences.
One fan confessed that she, too, talked to God like Margaret did in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (1970), a memorable Blume book about sorting through the challenges of adolescence.
"The best books come from someplace inside," Blume explained. "You dont write because you want to, but because you have to."
The writer of young people and adult books advised, "Become emotionally involved. If you dont care about your characters, your readers wont either."
About her writing technique, Blume added, "I am a rewriter. That's the part I like best. I despise, and am terrified by, a first draft. But once I have a pile of paper to work with, it's like having the pieces of a puzzle. I just have to put the pieces together to make a picture."
She encouraged writers to read their work aloud. "When you read aloud, you can hear what doesn't work."
By remembering what growing up was like, Blume writes from the child's point of view. The first to write candidly about what it's like to be a sexually active teen, she has been a vocal critic of censorship. Self-esteem and peer acceptance are also prevalent themes.
Blume won the 2004 National Book Award for contributions to American letters. Her books have sold over 75 million copies worldwide and have been translated into over 20 languages.
She said, "I get my best ideas scribbling with a pencil."
Keep writing, keep reading.