The Kid-Writing Life: One Week

Monday: Meet with six marketing people at Charlesbridge to brainstorm promotion strategies for novel #3. Munch on chicken kabob wrap and be astounded by their interest in the details of your life. Come home, stare at screen and try to write first chapter (of as-yet-unwritten novel #5) which needs to be published as a teaser in novel #4.

Tuesday: Visit four middle-school English classes to present two sessions. Go early to make sure their projector connects to your laptop without that annoying display-private-presenter-tools-on-screen thing happening again. Drive home in stupor to stare at computer. Procrastinate by perusing favorite blogs (like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one) and drinking icy Diet Coke.

Wednesday: Meet for chai with Kahani Magazine folks to figure out how to generate more buzz about their/our award-winning literary magazine. Brainstorm ideas and words for the magazine's next kid-writing contest. Drive home in panic, realizing you must award prizes for your own contest by June 30th. Read and narrow down to five poems and five short stories, marveling at quality of teen writing. Ignore kids, dinner, husband, dog, and your desperate need for exercise to revise novel #4 according to editorial comments etched on manuscript in blue pencil by editor #1.

Thursday: Return to same school to visit five more seventh-grade English classes. Present twice with full gusto, but session one is a tough crowd while session two kids are vibrant, laughing, and responsive. Realize that second group grabbed snack at their lockers before coming into library to listen to you. Drive home deciding that anybody who makes it through middle school without suffering some kind of trauma should have survivor's guilt forever.

Open carton on doorstep to find author copies of UK version of novel #2. Gaze in awe at beautiful new cover, wondering vaguely why it includes the head of an elephant god never mentioned in the book. Open envelope on doorstep to find suggestions from editor #2 for novel #6 which will apparently need drastic surgery. Send frantic email to editor #1 (on vacation in mountains) about how your first chapters always suck and asking if she really wants to include a teaser chapter of novel #5 at the end of novel #4. Fight guilt because editor #1 immediately sends cyber-reassurance from computer located in small coffeeshop at foot of mountains.

Friday: Write blog entry, and as you do, realize that after years of rejections, you're living your dream life. Give thanks. Postpone laundry. Wonder if family will mind eating takeout for dinner ... again. Hit "publish post," and get back to work on revision.