Using Your Super Powers

I had a wonderful dinner last night with a Writer Friend* who was unstinting with her ideas, encouragement, and advice. I think one of my favorite pieces of advice was this: Use your super powers.

At first, I wondered how she’d heard about my ability to hear my children plotting mischief from two miles away, but that wasn’t what she meant. We were talking about the individual skills each writer brings to the process —  touching on the fearsome topic of publicists and book “extras” like curriculum guides — and I mentioned that I had been a teacher. And that I had written curriculum for years.

Oh, yeah! THOSE superpowers.

It started me thinking. I spent a long time NOT being a writer. I was a GT and a music teacher, a salesperson for expensive glass art and jewelry, a Director of Family Ministry (which meant weekly public speaking, curriculum planning and SO much more), and a mom. (Well, I still am a mom, which entails a whole host of superpowers, but that’s not the kind I’m talking about here.)

I’m used to my life experience creeping into my work — if I hadn’t been a musician from the time I was four, would I have written a main character who loves to sing? If I hadn’t taught music to kids, would I have written a witch-like music teacher who loves to kill defenseless children? Oh wait. — but I hadn’t really thought about how those experiences would pertain to the publication/publicity process.

So I’m taking inventory this week, Friends, of what I have in my Bag of Tricks that I may not have thought about. Wondering how my acting credits might come in handy at school visits, for instance.

And even how I could use my hip-hop dancing skillz ** to move copies.

Break it down, Peeps. What do you have in your shady pasts that might help you onto the NYT list?

* The NYT best-selling type of Writer Friend, from whom advice about the pre-publication process is invaluable. And who happens to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

** No, that’s not me. But it could be. It could be.

Posted in Children's Fiction, People I Love on 06/23/2011 07:47 pm


  1. Go, Super Nikki, Go!


  2. LOVE this post. And its so true… our life experiences make us who we are, which, inevitably, also makes our writing what it is.

    The quote on my blog is: Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise [Sylvia Plath].

    Which is so true. EVERY life experience is fair game for book writing material, as far as I’m concerned!

    Although, in particular, I must admit that I had a shady ex boyfriend or two that may or may not make up the general character traits for a few of my bad guys. Just sayin’…


    • Nikki Loftin

      Julie – Ha! Love that quote. And I always knew my life stuff was inching out in my work, I just never realized how much all that random stuff would mean in the publication process!


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