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Copyright 2023 © by Jim Potter
Last week I was calmly promoting and selling my Amish novella, Deputy Jennings Meets the Amish. I was marketing and editing my book-in-progress, K-9 Kudzu’s Guide to Law Enforcement. All was fine, normal, until I had a restless night.
It was 3 a.m. when an awe-inspiring literary idea materialized. Sleep deprived, I asked myself a few questions.
- How could I be so brilliant in bed?
- Had my dreams triggered a spiritual sign?
- Was this new idea better than the three books I was already writing?
- Was it imaginative thinking, or was it avoidance?
Often, during the night, my ideas sound good, even great, but that’s before I consider the realities of my priorities. In this case, I asked myself if I had time to start a new book when I wasn’t done perfecting the draft copy that would soon be sent to my illustrator, Gina Laiso, Integrita Productions.
Here’s a link to Integrita Productions – http://facebook.com/IntegritaProductions
By morning, unfortunately, my idea had not diminished. Instead, I was developing a list of possible book titles! Yikes!
Like an alcoholic, I rationalized. I had plenty of time to complete my edit because Gina had barely begun developing the illustrations, most notably K-9 Kudzu, my German shepherd narrator. If Gina needed more time to work on illustrations, then I had extra time to play, I mean explore, my “creative thinking.”
Here’s my nocturnal idea. I started recalling a former student of “mine,” Calvin Lee Bontrager. He had attended Yoder Grade School in, you guessed it, Yoder, Kansas. Calvin was an inspiring person who always seemed to be smiling and never complaining, despite his long fight with leukemia.
After Calvin graduated from 8th grade, completing his formal education, he died too young at age 17 in 1997.
I knew Calvin’s parents and his paternal grandfather, and now, 26 years after attending his funeral service, I wanted to say hello to Calvin’s spirit at his grave. I’d take a short road trip to Yoder.
Besides my personal connection, I reasoned that I’d use my cemetery visit to help develop future writing on the Old Order Amish, maybe a story for my Amish America guest blog, and the information could be useful in writing my sequel, Jesse Jennings Meets the Amish.
So, on a cold, windy, bitter day, I set out for the Old Order Amish cemetery east of Yoder.
Here’s a link to Amish America – https://amishamerica.com
Upon my return home, Gina jolted me back to reality. She asked me to send her my latest draft of K-9 Kudzu’s Guide to Law Enforcement so she could begin plotting out a storyboard and blocking the chapters to help her plan illustrations.
A day later, Gina shared her draft of a blocked out, formatted chapter, and I saw our children’s book coming to life. It was exciting progress!
Thanks to Gina’s interruption . . . or intervention, I understood that beginning another book would wait. I had been side-tracked but not derailed. All I had needed was the jolt of a deadline. J. Alex Potter—my first reader and book editor—and I restarted our engines, determined to complete another edit.
If you’re a writer, this is a reminder that every nocturnal sensory sign you experience may not be a sign to a best seller. Instead, it may be avoidance.
Until next time, happy writing,
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