Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Questions

I thought about writing a post about query letters. But I did that almost a year ago and I don't have anything new to say.

Instead, I've been thinking a lot about questions. I think one of the best ways to learn anything is through questions.

Last week I took my kids to Barnes & Noble to meet Brandon Mull. I found out about his visit five minutes before we climbed into the car. Half way there I thought of books of his that I have that still aren't signed, but onward we went. A couple years ago when he was here the line was forever long.

This time, it wasn't so bad. Well, it would have gone a little faster, but he was taking his time with people.

I have to admit, I wondered how twenty people could take an hour, but as our turn came next in line, I found out.

His exact words to the people in front of me were, "Do you have any questions for me?"

And it hit me. That single sentence opens a floodgate. No wonder it took an hour.

And then, since I was so busy thinking about how amazing it was that he was talking so personally with all these people, my turn came up and I didn't have a question for him.

I'm a writer, so I always have something to say, right? I wish.

He said hi to my kids. I told him I was an author. He told me it's impossible to make it as a new author in today's economy.

It wasn't great. I left there feeling yet again, like a failure.

Why couldn't I have thought of a question?

One of the things I love the most about teaching is when people ask questions. I usually end up learning something or thinking about things from a new angle when people ask questions. It's my favorite part of any class, even if I'm the student.

Questions are sincere. Someone really wants to know. Don't be afraid to ask questions. And, unlike I did, take a minute and think of things to ask.


M Pax said...

Seems it's always tough to make it as a new author.

I can never think of questions until afterward.

Nice bumping into you :D

Shannon Lawrence said...

Man, all the authors I've spoken to have been encouraging about new writers. I hope that didn't bring you down too far. However, it's great that he spent all that time answering questions.

Kathy said...

I love questions, too. I love asking them and I mostly enjoy answering them! I guess we never learn unless we ask!!

I found you with the ‘surprise me’ button. I’m a new follower of yours. I'd love to have you check out my take on the A to Z Challenge, comment and follow, if you'd like.
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