A while back, a relative of mine reached out to me on Facebook seeking writing advice. She said she was pondering writing children’s books and a memoir. The following is what I wrote back to her (for this post, I broke the message up into bulletpoints and edited for grammar):
- First off, write every day — that’s the most important thing.
- Read as much as you can, especially children’s literature. You can only craft your voice by better understanding how other writers use theirs.
- When you get writer’s block, still work through it. You’ll find that you’ll get the flow once you get your creativity going. Writing is like exercising; if you don’t do it often, your muscles will atrophy you’ll gain weight, etc.*
- Find a writer’s circle or two where you can share your story with fellow writers and therefore you can get critiqued on your work.
- Take advantage of social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to connect with other fellow writers. Register on GoodReads.com and connect there as well.
- Look into creative writing courses at a local college or online. WritersDigest.com is a great place to start; they’re always offering writer’s course.
- Write from your heart. Don’t worry so much about whether your style holds up to other writers’. You can’t write like any one else because you’re a unique person with a unique voice. So use it!
I ended the message with, “Also — congratulations on pursuing a children’s writing career! This is so exciting!”
*Okay, I should clarify this writing advice. It’s true that everyone gets stumped on ideas. However, it’s not a good idea to draft your story only when inspiration hits — meaning, to create feverishly for a few days straight, get writer’s block and return to the work two weeks or two months later when ideas strike again. If you get stuck, run errands, wash the dishes, walk the dog, etc., but come back to the project. If one area of a manuscript is hard to get through, concentrate on a different part. Also, it’s advisable to maintain a daily writing schedule to exercise your creative muscles and make sure they don’t atrophy:-)
Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an Orlando, FL-based writer, journalist, author and poet. She is the founder/owner of Heathermoors Books & Words, a boutique freelance writing service that customizes content for local publications and small businesses in Central Florida. A former staff writer in North Jersey, Edmond-Sargeant won two NJ Press Association Awards. She is the author of a poetry book “How Fate’s Confusion Connects” and an Amazon Kindle short story ebook “Eve the First,: A Fairy Tale Revision”.