I have had the very great pleasure of meeting R.L. Stine a few times, but most recently--as in this past weekend--I spent some time with him at an event I helped organize for the International Thriller Writers Organization (I have taken on the position of Young Adult and Middle Grade Chair Person for them) called Palm Beach Peril. So, I felt it would be the perfect time to spotlight him as a mentor writer. Here in no particular order are 5 things I learned about R.L. Stine that I think are valuable takeaways for any writer:
1. He writes 2k per day, every single day. Even weekends--I asked. The craziest part? He actually types using one finger! One finger! When his wife told me, I didn't totally believe it until she made him show me it--how it was actually slightly wonky from overuse.
My takeaway: If you want to be a prolific writer, you have to write A LOT and be prepared for hand/finger overuse issues.
2. He is extremely generous to other authors he shares a stage with. At Palm Beach Peril, he was the headliner, the draw, and so he could've kept most of the time and attention for himself, but he was constantly involving the other authors in discussion and to answer crowd questions.
My takeaway: Don't hog the spotlight. Everyone deserves to shine.
3. He was kind and gracious to everyone. He seemed genuinely happy to be in the room and was very present. He didn't try to rush away or keep to himself. He posed for tons of pictures and made sure everyone who stood in line for him got to spend a few moments with him.
My takeaway: Be kind to everyone you meet and interact with.
4. He remembers what it feels like to be a newer author, one who doesn't have crowds coming to see him and you can tell that he's still thrilled when it happens now. He was just plain classy about the whole thing and didn't take any of it too seriously.
My takeaway: Always be thankful for what you have and never take it for granted.
5. He is married to an amazing lady (his editor) and has been for a long time. She is smart and funny and just as amazing as he is.
My takeaway: Surround yourself with good people who challenge and elevate you.
You couldn't ask for a better role model/mentor than R.L. Stine. It was my great pleasure to spend time with him this week!