What Do a Bear and a Barista Have In Common?
One of the things that I think makes me an effective editor is my experience as a writer. I know what it’s like to be in the word-working trenches, pushing to make creative things happen on the page even when you’re tired or distracted or stressed. I’m all of those things right now as I roll into the final two days before my sons start their three-week school break. As of this morning, Wednesday, I had two chapters to finish writing for my book WRITING THE NEW ADULT NOVEL before that school break kicks in. Luckily, Fate gave me a lovely little goose in the writing kiester in the form of a cute little bear named Rich and an ebulient coffee barista.
After walking my boys to school this morning, I focused hard for an hour, tuning out the world, thinking of nothing but how to write well and entertainingly for the NA audience. My fingers flew across the keyboard. I’m trying so hard with this book, really striving to make it useful and supportive for NA writers. Then, suddenly, I put the period on a sentence, finishing up a section about revising dialogue, and I realized I didn’t know what to type next. I blinked dazedly, then looked up, and blinked dazedly once more. “Well, hello,” I said out loud. There in the chair next to me was a little bear, looking at me with eyes that really belong to my son. The son who owns him. The son who set that little bear there as moral support for me. The son who is so incredibly thoughtful that I could’ve just run to school right then and there and kissed him. My sweet little man was cheering me on through his beloved bear Rich. I felt his energy, I slipped into The Zone, and I was tapping away fiercely at my laptop keyboard once again.
I finished half a chapter this morning at home. Satisfying, but alas, I once again felt an energy sag coming on. So I decided to change my work space in order to change my work pace. I headed to the local B&N Cafe. There, I set myself up at a table with hot tea, and laid out my work supplies. I’d was trying to get in the groove with the writing again, to be earnest and careful yet productive, and was alllllmmmmost there in The Zone when Johnny the Barista stopped by with his clipboard to check in on my customer welfare. He pointed to the book on my table and asked how I liked it. I blinked dazedly a moment, processed his question, then smiled and held up the book and pointed to the author’s name—my name. It was WRITING YOUNG ADULT FICTION FOR DUMMIES. “I like it fine,” I said, “I wrote it.” Well, lawdy people, he went nuts! Shaking my hand, telling me how cool it was to meet a real live author. “Wow! In person!” Boy, that was sure was a shot in the arm. After Johnny and his clipboard scurried off, I slammed through the rest of the chapter, loving the work I did and tickled as pie to be able to say, by the end of the day, that I’d knocked out a whole chapter. Sure, I’ll have to clean it up tomorrow, but the rough draft is there and now the fun of funking up the language and clarifying my points can commence. I figure I’ll even be able to dig into that last chapter mid-day Thursday, on track to finish that one up on Friday before the boys get off for their minimum day. I’ve got my fingers crossed for that, anyway. Plus, I’ve got a plan…
I’m going to write at the B&N cafe. I sure hope Johnny will be working that shift. I’m gonna be setting Rich up in his own chair there, with his own cup of tea, so that the bear and the barista can cheer me through those final pages.