What Might The Young Reader You Once Were Teach You?

I remember the smell of my first elementary school’s library: dust, aging pages, and a hint of peanut butter and honey. Actually, the PB & honey was probably left over from the lunch I raced through. All I wanted was more time in the stacks. I’d race to the V shelf, grab Jumanji and curl up in the cozy beanbag. I know I read other books, but Jumanji was the one I returned to day after day, escaping into a world where magic spilled over into the real world, and where kids had to become heroes whether they liked it or not.

No matter what book I’m working on, I’ve realized that I’m trying to recreate the feeling of that book. I want to create a world that first I, and then my reader, can slip away into. Of course, that experience requires excitement, high stakes, strong characters, lyrical writing and imagery, but underneath the writing craft, for me, stories are doorways.

How about you? What do you remember about yourself as a young reader? What might that young reader have to teach you now about the stories you might try reading, or the ones you might need to write?

What do you remember about yourself as a young reader? I remember reading Jumanji and escaping into the world, imagining what might happen if magic spilled over into my world. Now, I write with that feeling in mind.

The Gap Between Here and My Expectations

  What goes through your mind at the end of the day? If you're a creative, I'm guessing you run through a mental account of what you made today. At least, I do. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but my counting usually goes something like this. 1. I did write that...

The Opportunity of the Blank Page

How do you feel about a blank page? We often talk about the terror of a blank, white page, but what about the possibility? I love this poem from Jacqueline Woodson because it reminds me that a blank page can be seen in more than one way. It...

How to Develop as an Artist: A Book Flight

Whether you're a writer, visual artist, actor, director, or artist in any other creative medium, how might you build a mindset that helps you develop as an artist? Like any question worthy of a book flight, this line of inquiry has layers and complexity. What can we...

How to Best Enjoy a Writerly Play Book Flight

When my best friend, Emily, told me she chooses fiction rather than nonfiction in order to learn and grow, a lightbulb lit up for me. I, personally, am a fan of self-development books but she is NOT. As a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, her point wasn't lost on...

An Invitation to Writerly Play

How did Writerly Play come to be?   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown up my hands and wailed, “I know I'm capable of more ... but what's the next step?” Sometimes it feels like genuine creativity glimmers on the horizon, just out of reach. For a long time, I...

Excuses: The Snarly Enemies of Creative Momentum

I'm not a fan of excuses. And, not in a blow a whistle and shout, "Get to work!" kind of way. More in a roll-up-my-sleeves, experiment-until-you-figure-it-out kind of way. Excuses are snarly enemies of momentum. They snap at our heels and grab for us with grubby...

Collecting Ideas: 10 Quotes to Fuel Your Creativity

The wide-awake way that children's authors view the world that never fails to inspire me. Here's a dose of wisdom to inspire, stretch and most importantly, motivate you to keep collecting ideas. Where are they? Tiptoeing around your world, whispering to you, inviting...