Here at Magical Words, we often talk about the importance of perseverance — BICHOK (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard, for any newcomers reading this), writing through the doubt, making time day after week after month after year until the novel is finally finished. I’m a *huge* believer in discipline, with regard to my writing. I got far in the professional work-world of law firms by making commitments to my employers and keeping those commitments. I’d be a fool to be less dedicated to my own writing career.
But every once in a while, everyone needs to stray from the path.
That’s what I did, yesterday afternoon.
For those who haven’t been following along, I’ve been on a very tight writing timetable. I’ve been doing final edits on one novel (DARKBEAST REBELLION), which will be in stores in September. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on another novel (***Name Deleted For Now***), which my agent just started shopping around this week. I’ve been drafting a third novel (SINGLE WITCH’S SURVIVAL GUIDE a/k/a Jane Madison, Volume 4), which will be published in about 1.5 months.
So, yeah. A lot going on.
But last week, I got an email from a friend I’ve known for twenty-five years. Her daughter, J, is in the third grade. J’s class is participating in a reading challenge — the third grade is trying to read for one million minutes this school year. J’s class of around 20 kids just passed the 100,000 minute mark. (Cue sounds of cheering!) J’s teacher wanted to have a party to celebrate this milestone. To make the party special, the teacher sent email to all the parents asking them if they knew anyone involved with any aspect of publishing.
You can see where this is going, right?
So, this afternoon, I traipsed out to suburban Maryland to talk to a class of third graders. The kids were *wonderful* — even though we were meeting at the end of their school day, and even though they could see a cake (and cookies and conversation hearts and pretzels and cheese balls) sitting on a nearby table, and even though they could almost touch their personalized certificates and special sparkly pencils sitting next to the snacks — even with all those distractions, the kids listened to me talk for about 20 minutes. And they asked questions for another 20 minutes. And they told me about their favorite books, and their writing notebooks, and their ideas for their own stories. I got to hand out the certificates and the sparkly pencils (and I got to remind the kids that you take with your left hand and shake with your right.) They were wonderfully enthusiastic, and at the same time, they were respectful of me and of each other.
I had a fantastic time. Seeing all those kids getting excited by reading made *me* excited about writing. So, yeah, I’ll be spending this evening doing the drafting that didn’t get done this afternoon. And I’ll still be a little bit behind. And I wasn’t even able to sell books directly to the kids — they’re a couple of years too young for DARKBEAST.
But my trip was so, so worth it. (Plus, J’s across-the-street neighbor has an elephant-sized statue of a purple diplodocus on the front lawn — suburban views don’t get cooler than that!)
So, share your tales of serendipity with me. When have you strayed from your own writing rules and/or goals and ended up happy for the experience?