The Washington Post reported a charming tale of an 8-year-old kid named Dillon who wrote and illustrated his own book, then snuck it into the stacks of his local library in Boise.
Dillon later admitted that what he did was “naughty-ish.”
But the covert act of analog sharing not only won over the librarians, they gave him an award (which they created for him) for Best Young Novelist, stuck a bar code on the back of his book, and officially added it to their collection.
His book, “The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis,” currently has a 55-person waitlist.
Fifty-five people may not seem like a lot in the age of million-views-overnight TikTok fame, but in terms of supply and demand? You couldn’t get your hands on this book if you tried right now.
Seth Godin says that if you want to create something of value and worth, start with something you cannot scale.
That’s what Dillon did.
Of course he’s currently at work on a digital version (he’s no dummy), and working on a new book (about a closet that eats clothes), and likely fending off calls from agents and publishers with the shit ton of publicity he’s getting thanks to The Washington Post.
But while what he did was a clever and charming act of chutzpah, he’s also inspired others. Right now, he’s working with a children’s book author to create a writing workshop, because now all the other kids want to do it, too.
In other words, not only has this kid’s story gone viral; so has the desire in other children to write, create, and share stories.
NOTE what Dillon didn’t do:
He didn’t conduct surveys.
He didn’t ask permission.
He didn’t post selfies with devil horn emojis.
He wasn’t trying to be ironic.
He simply walked into the library with something he’d made, an irreplaceable thing, put it on a shelf, and let it go.
While covertly slipping your work onto shelves is probably not the most effective way to share your work, that kid is doing a thing that many adults are currently talking themselves out of:
Making a thing, and then sharing it.
Oh, sure, we talk about “putting ourselves out there.” But even the prospect of what people will think, let alone actual criticism, stops us before we even begin. We say we will, when we have time, when we yada yada.
In other words, sometimes we’re all talk.
This kid? All walk.
You can talk. You can walk. Or, you can run.
Want to feel what it’s like to walk your talk for six weeks? To write and share your stuff with the abandon of an 8-year-old?
The Sprint starts next week. You in?