Reassess and Reschedule

Summer vacation is around the corner for many of us. Soon the quiet writing hours will turn to noisy chaos when the kids are home from school for the next few months. It’s time to reassess and reschedule.

By reassess, I mean we need to determine our writing priorities. There are some things (deadlines) we absolutely need to do, and others (specific hours of writing time) that we need to do with less intensity if we want to give our families top priority. My writing is important, but my husband and children are more important, so they need to know that although mom is a writer who has responsibilities, those responsibilities can be put on hold every once in awhile when needed.

By reschedule, I mean we need to alter our daily writing time to fit the needs of the day. Instead of writing Monday through Friday, perhaps we can write every other day. Taking the kids to swimming lessons? Try writing that article while sitting in the bleachers or in your folding chair under a tree while you wait. Just make sure to give the kids a wave now and again. Need to do research? Look up the books you need from your computer at home, then take a family outing to the library so the kids can pick up some great reading materials while you pick up your research books.

There are ways to work out summer writing and summer vacation. Be creative and be willing to reassess and reschedule.

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Unexpected Inspiration

I never would have thought I’d be inspired to write a story while visiting a thrift store. But that’s exactly what happened yesterday as I was walking through one store I visit every so often looking for used books and other interesting items. As I was walking down an aisle, I saw a particular mantle piece item on a shelf that immediately sparked the idea for a whole new mystery story.

I will not disclose the item as to give away my storyline, but let’s just say that I could envision a young boy protagonist wanting to buy this particular item from a store, and when he finally gets enough money to purchase it, the item ends up revealing an amazing clue.

Oooh! I can’t wait to start writing. This is going to be fun! Stay tuned.

Interesting Developments

I just found out that my book, The Declaration of Independence from A to Z, is now included in the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. This program helps kids find books based on their reading level, and then they take a short computer quiz after reading that book. Teachers use this program to determine if their students are understanding what they’ve read.

It’s fun to see all the opportunities and developments my book is going through as it becomes known. At the writing of this post, there are 18 libraries throughout the United States (including, of course, the Library of Congress which keeps a copy of all books printed) that have at least one copy of my book in their collections.

There are even more possibilities in the works, but I won’t disclose them until they become realities. So, stay tuned!

Allowing for Questions

I had the privilege of giving a short talk before my book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Redlands, California this past Sunday. There was a nice group of about 30 children and parents who listened attentively as I talked a bit about early American history and about my book, The Declaration of Independence from A to Z.

Afterward, one young girl asked me a question no one had ever asked me before, “What was your favorite letter in the book?” I had to think about this a moment. I finally decided on “M is for Majority” because it corresponded with Layne Johnson’s wonderful rendition of John Trumbull’s famous picture of the Declaration of Independence.

It’s important to let kids ask questions. Their interpretations are a bit different from ours, and it helps me understand my audience a lot better.

I’ll be speaking to a group of Kindergarten to Second grade students next month for Career Awareness Week. I can’t wait for all the questions they’ll ask about being a writer. Who knows? Maybe I’ll learn something new about myself by the unique things they’ll ask.

Book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Redlands on May 2, 2010