By Donna Griffin
Author and CEO
The Birth of the First Amendment, 2019
Old Whiskers Escapes! 2018
The Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana 2014
Coming Soon: The Gameday Crew Presents: Ultimate Sibling Showdown
Turning a page is personal.
Ask any 6 month old or 60 year old.
You have power in reading the written word on the printed page – when you will read it, and how much you will read it.
It builds character, understanding and concentration.
Read a book and block out the world around you.
Connect your thoughts and imagination to another.
Beats TBT, 140 characters and texts any day.
True readers know the difference.
They touch books with an unconscious reverence, and look at you with a unique mix of wonder, awe and curiosity when they find out “you wrote this book”.
It’s pretty heady stuff; almost as extraordinary as cuddling in a rocking chair with a toddler nested close to your heart repeating the same “One fish, two fish,” “Good night, moon,” or “I’m looking for my missing piece.”
It’s all in the connection.
To the people.
In our lives.
Turning the page is personal.
My first piece of advice to those who aspire to publish is to be in the present.
Enjoy the process and people who surround you – that is where I find my inspiration – in listening to my grandchildren, my family, my students, colleagues, and most of all by reading!
The Birth of The First Amendment was inspired by teaching journalism in high school and then I saw an interview with Lin Manuel Miranda in 2015 about the making of “Hamilton” and thus came my take on the importance and persistence of the First Amendment.
My students are again the inspiration for my next project – The Gameday Crew Presents, Ultimate Sibling Showdown. The story of a crew of young sports reporters who cover the one-on-one battle of Portia Vs. Jay is inspired by the true story of Cheryl and Reggie Miller and Miller’s 8 points in 8.9 seconds win in the playoffs.
The caveat to the second part of this question is to define your own success.
I remember sitting in numerous children’s book writing conferences and listening to advice and lofty goals. So much depended on bending your story to fit someone else’s needs or vision.
The best thing I ever did was join a critique group more than seven years ago. We meet monthly and I trust their judgement way more than any New York editor. They are reminders that in writing, at least in my experience, the most fun is when it is a collaborative effort.
When it comes down to it, I hate to write, but I love to have written.
I just remember who I am writing for – not faceless agents or editors, but eager, energetic children who appreciate a good story. The fact that my books are in homes of both people I know and those I don’t, and that all my family has a copy they can read and enjoy, is enough success for me.