March Theme: BEING A WRITER ISN’T JUST WRITING by John Claude Bemis

I’m thrilled to share that I’ve been selected as the 2013Piedmont Laureate, a position awarded each year to a different North Carolina writer.  While it will be a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on our marvelous art of children’s literature, it’ll be a busy year.  A wonderfully busy year.
 Whenever I’ve taken a Myers-Briggs, I always seem to fall dead even between introverted and extroverted.  I’ve always been that type of person equally happy when I’m at a party or completely by myself.  In my work life, I enjoy the solitary time spent writing and wandering around in my imagination creating characters and crazy situations.  In my work life, I also love getting out to do school visits, teach workshops, and present on creativity and writing children’s books.

Being this year’s Piedmont Laureate, I’ll have to develop programs and activities that will celebrate the literary arts.  Will I have less time to write, to develop my current novel?  Sure.  Do I regret that?  No way.

For me, the time away from my writing (and this month’s Smack Dab topic, by the way, is on taking breaks) helps my creative process enormously.  Visiting classrooms and working with kids, developing presentations and programs to celebrate children’s literature, getting around in my duties as the Piedmont Laureate, these are the bellows that fan the flames of my passion for writing for young people.  That extroverted side of my job that gets me out of my office and interacting with others is time well spent.  It reminds me who I’m writing for.  And I believe it makes my storytelling all the stronger.

I love being a writer.  I love when I’m at my laptop miles deep in my imagination with my characters and their world.  And I love that time when, as a writer, I’m not writing but getting others excited about stories and creative writing.  I’ve found a nice balance to my career, and for that, I count myself lucky.


  1. Congratulations, John! This is a great honor!

  2. Congratulations on this lovely honor! And what creative fun it will be to take on the challenge of all it involves.


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