Andrew Clements, like many authors, has a favorite place where he likes to write. It’s not a second story office or an attic nook. It’s a shed behind his home. He says he likes it there because there are fewer distractions that can get in his way. Not having distractions is important for a writer who prefers to work, as he calls it, one word at a time.
1. Not By Trade
Clements is one of those authors who kind of “fell into” the art of writing. His vocation by trade is actually in teaching. Clements studied literature at Northwestern and then went on to earn a master’s degree in teaching. The writing bug hit him soon after, however, and he wound up moving from Illinois to New York originally to be a songwriter.
2. 6 Years
The first book that Clements was able to have published was Frindle. Even though it was eventually published in 1996, he actually started writing it in 1990. During that time he landed a job at a book import company and this helped him to learn what the industry expected of authors at the time. He put that into his writing and the rest, as they say, is history.
3. A Book For Discussion
What sets Clements apart from other authors is the intention of his work. Instead of trying to tell an entertaining story, he wants kids to begin discussing what the meaning of the work happens to be. As in Frindle, what is the meaning of this made-up word? Are there other words that are new that could mean something too? This has caused Clements to be included in a number of classroom curriculum’s over the years.
4. The Trademark
You can tell that you’ve got an Andrew Clements novel in your hands because of the portrait on the cover. All of his works have a student on the cover who is holding some sort of school object. It might be a report card, some sheet music, a pen, or a book. It’s working because Frindle to date has sold more than 2.5 million copies.
Andrew Clements used his experiences in life to become a best-selling children’s author. It wasn’t even his first or second attempt at a career, but his tenacity paid off. This is a lesson that we can all take to heart with our own endeavors.