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What a week! My illustrator has illustrated several books and prides himself on visiting schools. This allows him to present his publications to the students in a fun kid-friendly environment.

Well, last week my illustrator invited me along to observe one of his visits. AWESOME! First and foremost, as a former classroom teacher, it felt incredible being back in the school setting. Looking into those little smiling faces never gets old. But also exciting was seeing how he inspired the kids with his illustrations. They were so full of energy and eager to participate and be a part of the full experience. Of course, his own energy had a lot to do with that.

He introduced me as one of his authors and the children seriously looked as if he had just introduced a real live Pokemon to them. They were so awe-stricken by the word “author” it was truly humbling and amazing all at once. Despite my years as a teacher, I am still amazed at the things that impress children of all ages.

My role was simple. I introduced myself and answered a few questions the students couldn’t wait to ask. Of course, the second group went a little smoother than the first group, especially since he put me on the spot initially. But, I simply slipped into teacher mode and that was that. Though short, it was a lot of fun.

He had also invited another author to tag along. This was a real bonus (for the kids and me). It was so refreshing and inspiring hearing someone else’s story and rubbing elbows with someone who could relate to my experience and offer advice to help me along the way. He made me feel that I could totally do this.

One of the most important take-aways for me was to believe in my work and keep writing. Believe in my work. Believe in my work. Believe in my work… Got it!

We had so many things in common – our daily writing goals, writing across genres, and some of our writing practices. But despite all of our commonalities, I did note one major difference – his lack of fear. He submits his work to different contests without hesitation while still working on his books. When he finishes a work he’s immediately on to the next. I can’t begin to tell you the number of contests I’ve reviewed only to pick out some reason I either wouldn’t qualify for the submission or couldn’t submit my work because it was just bad timing. I tell you, I’m so good at standing in my own way. But no more!

I was so inspired by these two talented gentlemen. I am newly encouraged and eager to continue on this journey.

Believe in your craft and write on people! I know I will.