Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Behind the Books: The Writer’s Life

I’m a writer. Once upon a time, that meant I sat at my desk and wrote all day, every day. I loved what I did, but sometimes I felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the world, especially my young readers.

In the last few years, thing have changed. A lot. Most children’s authors are now playing a big role in promoting their books, and I’m no exception.

I now spend a big chunk of my time out and about—especially during October, April, and May. This spring I’m spending more days traveling and doing presentations than at home writing. I’ll be in Maryland, Texas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut (twice), Maine, New Hampshire (twice), and all over my home state of Massachusetts.

Part of me hates being pulled away from my works-in-progress, but another part of me loves reaching out to readers. Talking to curious kids is a blast, and I always come home with tons of ideas for new ways to approach the topics I’m writing about.

During school visits, I see firsthand which parts of my books fascinate kids the most—and which parts miss the mark. Having direct contact with kids, teachers, and librarians makes me a better writer.

Speaking at conferences helps me to better understand the challenges and obstacles educators face every day. Questions from the audience and lunchtime conversations help me develop curriculum materials that can better serve educators’ needs.

Even though I know that connecting with my audience is an important part of my job, I always feel a sense of relief when June rolls around. All summer long, I can delve deeply into my writing. I truly treasure that time.

But by the time October rolls around, I’m itching to get out of the office again. The seasonal rhythms of being a twenty-first century writer have become a welcomed part of my annual routine.

1 comment:

  1. I love this Melissa. It's terrific that you've found a balance that works for you. I aspire to this!