The craft of writing is like a baby – you have to constantly nurture it in the hope that it will grow into a healthy, robust, thoughtful, compassionate, and intelligent, body of work.
I’ve always admired how some people can write in flow. The words run like liquid gold, from their mind to the paper, or keyboard these days. As a reader, it’s like going zip-lining. You hook into the wire and off you go, on an exhilarating adventure until you get swiftly to the end, disappointed that your journey is over. Always left wanting just a little more.
I feel that way when I’m reading a novel but strangely, I feel differently when I read a good children’s picture book. When I get to the end of a picture book, I experience a feeling of satisfaction, of completeness. One journey has ended now another is free to begin. A picture book, to me, is like a tidy package of happiness. A perfect circle. You can revisit it many times, and every time is just as exquisite as the first.
Developing Your Craft
Children’s books look very simple but they can be incredibly difficult to craft. As someone who is new to this field, I thought it would be a good idea to challenge myself; to evolve my skill in this art. I’ve decided to write a story every two weeks. Some of them might be wonderful, some of them might be terrible, but I’m interested to see how my skill develops over time. One thing is for sure, I’ll find some diamonds that I can illustrate and publish. I’ll find some little sparks that I can share online and no doubt, I will fill up the trash can on my laptop!
I started this week and I surprised myself. I wrote a story that I’m entering into the Storylines Joy Cowley Award (thank you to my friend, Robyn, for sharing this link!). It was a very interesting experience! I discovered my writing voice was really starting to take on a life of its own. It felt like I was weaving a magical tapestry and the pattern of children’s book writing started to appear. That’s the point I was hoping to get to – that magical place where the ideas flow.
I haven’t been at this long enough but I suspect, as in life, your writing personality develops over time as you become more adept at expressing your ideas.
But Wait! There’s More!
Yes, there is always more! The other types of writing I need to get better at are blogging and social media posts. There’s a lot of work in becoming a writer of any kind these days. Thinking about what to post and creating the posts takes as much time as working on your books.
A valuable exercise that has emerged from my blog posting has been creating images for the posts! I’ve taken to using my blog as a way to be creative and develop ideas for stories. Today, I created Whoopsberry. Very rough, playful, random, and fun. Whoopsberry will go into my Idea Bank to be resurrected at a later date!
There’s a lot to learn when you’re a newbie. I saw the free HubSpot Content Marketing Course advertised on Facebook and decided to do it. So far, it’s pretty good. A great starting point when you’re new to all this.
Why Am I Doing This?
Two of the most challenging questions in the Marketing Course so far have been WHY and WHO are you writing for?
To nurture and empower self-expression. I love working with the idea of self-reflection – who are we in the world, what do we think about ourselves, how and why do we compare ourselves to others, and how empowered do we feel to express ourselves, to develop and use our own voice.
As with everything, you can’t write for everyone. You have to figure out who you are writing for and focus on them. They say you should write what you know about so I’m writing stories for kids like me.
I’ve always loved stories that inspired me to be me and to learn something new. Whether it was the meaning of a new word with a lot of syllables, a new concept, a different perspective, a place in the world, or an event. I loved stories that inspired my imagination and set me off on all kinds of tangents. I’ve always enjoyed complexity, figuring things out, problem-solving, detail, systems, and processes. Not in a rigid sense but in a flexible, creative way. I love color, interesting characters, and humor. So that’s who I’m writing for.
At the moment, I’m thinking the what is probably just as unique to each writer as their why. You can get super creative here but at first, there is probably a dominant means of expression. Whether it’s through characters, design, storytelling, or subject matter. My guess is that mastery in this field would be to use all of these expressions in equal measure.
So, back to the art of becoming a writer. There are many different aspects that need to be considered. You, as a creative writer, and you, as a marketer. Why are you doing it? Who are you doing it for? What are you going to do? How do you choose to develop your skill? And that’s just the beginning. That’s where I’m at right now. The next step is to think about the publishing path.