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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

How writers write

December 23, 2008

Lately I've been spending lots of time in my car. This week while driving around I was fortunate enough to hear two children's authors talk about their craft and what writing means to them. I love to discover how authors write, what inspires them, and how hard they work at their craft.

The first author I heard was Louis Sachar, who was doing a book tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of Holes. Sachar was part of the Authors on Tour podcast series.

Sachar's writing process is incredibly long; he writes at least five drafts before he shares it with anyone. He feels each draft shapes the characters and the plot in an important way. For any teacher who has pulled teeth to get her children to revise a piece of writing, Sachar's words might help them understand the value!

The second author I heard was Kate DiCamillo, whose book The Tale of Despereaux opened as a movie this week. Talking on Bob Edwards Weekend, DiCamillo spoke candidly about her writing process (only two pages a day!), and how important words and books have been to her throughout her life. She has a great regard for librarians, especially those who “recognized her as a reader” at a young age.

These extended interviews and readings are little treasures to me! If you like them too, be sure to browse the collection of video interviews we have on Reading Rockets.

Two of our sister sites also include author interviews. Adolescent Literacy has a Books & Authors section, and Colorin Colorado has a Meet the Author series. Enjoy!


Thanks for the comments about how Louis Sachar and Kate DiCamillo write. I just read an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy who also said that she wrote about 5 drafts before her editor even sees what she is working on! I have written more non-fiction than fiction and have recently taken the plunge (with the help of NaNoWriMo)into the world of fiction. These comments about the long and hard process of writing is a good reminder that writing takes time, effort, and lots of perseverance. Thanks for the reminder from stellar authors. Carol

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