When I’m not at home writing, one of the best things I get to do is visit schools, after-schools, and libraries through my enrichment business and work with groups of kids from all over. Well, I call it work. Really, we play games and share stories. But let’s pretend it’s work. The IRS does.
The first thing I do when I settle in to work with a new group is go over the rules for our time together. The rules vary from visit to visit, depending on the program I’m doing. But the last rule I share is always the same. Have fun!
Now, anyone who works with kids will tell you that you need to be prepared to revisit rules a fair bit. That’s true. But the ‘have fun” rule? That’s the one I generally expect to revisit the least.
As I begin this journey from deal to debut, though, I am surprised by the frequency with which I have to remind myself to “have fun.” I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. It makes sense. The intimate relationship I’ve had all along with my story is about to change. Once it goes to publication, it’s not going to be me and my book anymore. It’s going to be me, my book, and everyone else. That’s a scary thing. What if everyone else doesn’t enjoy my story? It can be hard to have fun when you’re scared.
But rules exist for a reason. And “have fun” is one rule that deserves to be followed, especially in this case. Because this thing I get to do, that I suspect almost everyone reading this blog does—writing for children—this is the best thing ever. It doesn’t matter where we are on the road to publication. We are all absurdly lucky. I write for children in large part because it’s a way for me to express the love I feel for the books that shaped me as a child. What could possibly be more fun than that?
So I thought I’d take this opportunity in my first post for Emu’s Debuts to revisit the “have fun” rule. It’s a great reminder for me, and if anyone out there reading this is in a place where they need a reminder, too, then all the better. I’m excited to be part of this community and I’m looking forward to doing a great deal of rule-following with everyone in the days ahead!