Kid Lit Author and Advocate

All I Really Need to Know…I Learned Writing Kids’ Books

I posted this piece a few months ago…

Writing is a solitary vocation. I spend a lot of time alone, pondering and reflecting, constructing and connecting. Most recently I connected my life, as a writer, to a well-known poem by Robert Fulghum. http://www.robertfulghum.com/ In the poem, Fulghum reflects on his days in kindergarten and how those lessons prepared him for life.

kindergarten

As I read his words, I began to ponder how becoming an author has enriched my life. I may not have learned “All I really need to know”, but I am constructing my journey one keystroke and lesson at a time. Here’s what I know…

All I really need to know…I learned writing kids’ Books

Share everything-

Give back to your fellow writers. Share articles and resources. Share your failures; they matter too. Lift someone up; show him the way. Give your books away to kids in need. Give back to your community.

Play fair-

I have dues to pay, like everyone else. There are no short-cuts or secret formulas to getting your books published or noticed.

Don’t hit people-

over the head with book promotions. It’s a fine line we walk when we promote our books. When in doubt, less is ALWAYS more!

Put things back where you found them-

Being an organized writer leads to being a productive writer (took me a long time to accept this one). This rule also applies to cats sleeping on your lap while you write. If you must disturb them, return them to your lap immediately.

Clean up your own mess-

I am a better writer when I can see the top of my work space (fought this one for years). Cats sitting on your work space are exempt.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours-

Whenever you quote or reference someone else or his/her work, give him/her proper credit.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody-

For me, this pertains to my husband. He is often on the receiving end of my writer’s block crankiness and endures my need for isolation when the block gives way.

Wash your hands before you eat-

A good practice on those rare occasions when I pry myself from my WIP to eat.

Flush-

Sometimes I have to let go of an idea that is not working to create space for a new one.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you-

And they make for delicious refreshments at book signing events.

Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some-

Okay, I’m still working on that one.

Take a nap every afternoon-

My cats handle this one for me.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together-

I am blessed to go out into the kid lit world, holding hands with some of the best people I know. Winding our way through the streets of the publishing world; we stick together.

Be aware of wonder-

Without wonder, how would we create anything new?

Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup; The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup-they all die. So do we-

The wonderful thing is that, as writers, we can make these moments matter. And what we write can matter to someone in a profound way.

And remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned-the biggest word of all-LOOK-

My greatest joy, as a children’s author, is seeing my words reflected through another person’s eyes. In that book, for those few moments, we look at the world together.

dream

What has your writing journey taught you? I’d love to hear about it. Don’t be shy, leave a reply.

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6 Comment(s)

  1. russtowne

    February 5, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I LOVE this post! What writing children’s books has reminded me includes that just about anything truly is possible, the importance of doing what I love with people I love, the magic and power of connection, the value of leaving a legacy, how critical it is to my happiness to focus on the adventure rather than the result, and how wonderful most writers and readers (and people in general) really are.

    Like



  2. russtowne

    February 5, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Clyde and Friends and commented:
    I LOVE this post. In response to Michelle’s question in her lat paragraph, I replied:

    What writing children’s books has reminded me includes that just about anything truly is possible, the importance of doing what I love with people I love, the magic and power of connection, the value of leaving a legacy, how critical it is to my happiness to focus on the adventure rather than the result, and how wonderful most writers and readers (and people in general) really are.

    Liked by 1 person



  3. Norah

    February 6, 2016 at 4:22 am

    This for sharing this one again, Michelle. I love the way you have applied the kindergarten poem to writing. There may be still some lessons to learn, but that’s what keeps us going and growing in life after all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person



  4. ajschildrensbooks

    February 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Reblogged this on ajschildrensbooks and commented:
    Great post, Michelle!

    Liked by 1 person



  5. Stephanie Newman

    February 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Great post! I’m very new to writing children’s books and these words hit home for me. I’m going to be posting them on my wall in front of my desk.

    Liked by 1 person



  6. Tina Frisco

    August 10, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Hi Michelle… I nominated you for The Lovely Blog Award. You can read about it here: https://tinafrisco.com/blog/one-lovely-blog-award/. Acceptance is optional. Have a wonderful day, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person



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