Rules of the Game

hands_inWhen 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!

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8 Comments

Filed under Introduction, Writing and Life

8 responses to “Rules of the Game

  1. A timely reminder, as we head into the holiday season and I spent the first 20 minutes of a busy morning vacuuming shards of broken glass up off the kitchen floor… before I tackle ironing, errands and holiday gift shopping, while hoping for a couple minutes of *thinking* about writing this afternoon. Welcome to the EMUs!

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  2. That’s the best rule ever, Adam, but one that’s hard for me sometimes. Thanks for the reminder and I’m going to do my best to follow that rule!

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  3. mariagianferrari

    I agree, Adam–we often forget to just have fun! Thanks for reminding us to have fun, especially now that the holidays are upon us!

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  4. Lindsey Lane

    I’m good with the ‘have fun’ rule. Real good.

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  5. Welcome to the Emu’s, Adam! Great first post, and great reminder for me this morning.

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  6. I like it! Great intro, Adam. I am going to go and follow that rule right NOW.

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  7. Thanks, all! It’s great being in the group. I’m really enjoying making my way back through the previous posts!

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  8. Yay for getting your priorities straight! Now I shall try to do the same. Looking forward to seeing your posts!

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