Write a book with your kids? 43 elements for success. 42 are optional.
It often gets lost in the maelstrom of other ingredients.
But it’s crucial.
There’s one vital element to this endeavor we need to make it a success. It’s an often overlooked piece of the puzzle but without it, we’ll get nowhere and even with all of the other ingredients combined, it won’t make up for a dash of this one thing.
This is an excerpt from a chapter of the upcoming book “Spark: How to write a book with your kids–and why you should.” Due out Dec. 17, 2018. It might also seem like an overwhelming list for an experiment with your kids to just write a little book together, but go with me, dare to give me the benefit of the doubt here, just for a few minutes.
Let’s make sure we have a list of everything we might need first.
- A dream
- An ACoS* rating of less than 70
- An idea
- Hot drinks
- Pomodoro Timer
- Lip balm (no smacking lips during audiobook recording!)
- Smartphone (for book trailer recording and backup audio)
- Salsa (for the chips)
- Short-term tactical goals
- Long-term strategic goals
- Bean dip (for tortilla chips)
- Graph paper
- Colored pens or pencils
- Open mind
- Open heart
- A sense of humor
- More chips
Of course, you don’t need everything on this list–but it won’t hurt. A goal is nice and persistence will be of great use getting you closer to accomplishment by the deadline. You’ll need an open mind and a spark of focus to guide your child through the shallow barrier of reality that leads to their deep and wondrous imagination. Chips are practically a necessity and if you can rustle up a dip of some kind along the way you’ll be doing both your kid and yourself a favor (I personally like artichoke dips). You can’t forget to take breaks as well. The Pomodoro technique can be applied and even adjusted to your personal preference (we found that 5 minutes of work followed by 25 minutes of play was a good ratio). I could explain the importance of the ACoS ranking, but I don’t want you to get bogged down in details you don’t need (yet). Speaking of details, flexibility is a must for our adventure as is an open mind and you might as well drop in a heaping spoonful of patience in there for good measure.
I realize this list is long and might seem overwhelming at first. Which is why pens and paper and checklists are going to help get you through it. If you prefer a checklist app on your phone that’s OK too but it’s preferable to use some good old fashioned pen and paper. Makes it more authentic and all.
There is, however, one element that our experiment that is essential to the success of the outcome. Well, it’s also crucial to get it started at all and keep it going. It’s a tiny little piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked but if we can remember that this one piece is the foundation for everything else, then it all falls together and makes sense.
The challenge is that we often find that we don’t have it on hand. Chips and pens and Pomodoro timers we can buy at the store, but this one can be a little trickier to dig up. Maybe we’re running a little low on this particular element and one of the reasons we’d like to take part in this experiment is because we hope it will actually provide us with more of it–and it will. But we need it to get going, too.
It’s not chips (although we’ll need those–and lots of them).
It’s not an idea (those, you’ll learn later, are in plentiful supply).
It’s not flexibility, perseverance, or even passion.
It’s not dip.
Are you ready?
Don’t freak out.
It’s going to seem obvious.
You might say, “Well, of course. Duh. Of course I have that!”
With this one thing, we actually don’t need any of the rest of the list.
In fact, the entire list will come together if we have just this one thing.
Don’t call me crazy.
Just give me the benefit of the doubt.
Roll with me here.
Without it, we’re nowhere.
Without it, we can’t start, we can’t keep going, and we certainly can’t finish.
You might be in one of these three camps right now:
- “I have so much love for this child I can’t even contain it.”
- “Well, duh! Of course I have love for this child! It’s my son/daughter/niece/neighbor! Maybe I could show a little more, but I have lots to give.”
- “I know I have love for this child and I know he or she needs it. I haven’t been showing it so much lately. We’re going to dig some more out together.”
The beauty of 1, 2, and 3 is it doesn’t matter where you are. You have love. You have lots of it. We’re going to need it because it–and only it–is what powers this entire operation.
They need it. You need it. You both need it from each other.
That’s what we’re going to do here.
But it’s the secret. It’s the quiet coach on the sidelines. It’s the solid foundation from which we’ll build.
I know you have it. We all have it. We might just need to dig a little bit up or brush off the dust or make the time or get off our phones or wake up 15 minutes earlier. You know what you need to do and how to find it. You know exactly how to find it.
For our experiment, this is not just ordinary love in the sense of, “I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups” or maybe even “I love you” but a more altruistic, unconditional, and quiet love that wants only to make a connection between two people.
Like a connection, think of electricity. This experiment needs a connection between two people as we will be powering each other. It’s a bit like a battery and a battery charger except that in this case, both elements are both batteries and battery chargers.
You might think that if one side is both a battery and battery charger in one that it doesn’t need the other element. But batteries have both a plus (+) and a minus (-) and this is the same thing. Each side needs the other to both gather the current and distribute it back.
Because this child has love for you, too. It’s there. It might be out in the open and on her sleeve every single day. Or it might pop out once in a while and whisper a hello. Or it’s buried and needs a little spring cleaning.
We’ll get there. We’ll find it. But in order to find it, we need your love first. Your love will start the connection, turn the crank to get this electric party buzzing.
Are you ready?
That’s a trick question. I wasn’t ready. We’re both always ready and never ready. It doesn’t matter. The fact that you’re reading this right now means it’s time. It’s time like there has been no other.
If you need a helping hand reaching down to pull you up to get started, that’s why I’m here.
Your hand then extends to the child, reaching down to pull her up with us.
I’m going to start things off by sending you a little jolt of electricity. Just like the tiniest of motors needs that flicker to turn on, even the huge motor that propels a cruise ship, or that one little flare that turns a heap of wood into a roaring bonfire. It just needs one thing.
As for all of the references to chips, here’s proof it works for productivity:
In case you didn’t quite get enough, here’s another shot of the mouth-watering delicacies of golden tortilla heaven.* Advertising Cost of Sales
If you’re reading down here because you wanted to know what ACoS is, you and I are going to do well together. 😉