The children’s writer is unique and rewarding calling. Not only do we get a chance to write for kids but we get to become a child while we are writing a picture book. It is one of the best kinds of writing to do.
I write academically and creatively for adults and young adults as well and tweens. But there is something about writing for children that makes me want to rejoice every time I sit down to write or revise a picture book.
I believe this is because writing for children is so much fun. There is something about entering into the mind of a child that really is fun and rewarding. It helps me to think like a child—the freedom and playfulness of it all—and how liberating it is and just plain fun.
I have been writing for children for a decade now, and I have written quite a few picture books. I was not a picture book writer before this. But after attending a writer’s conference over ten years ago, I heard one writer say that all she did was write picture books for personal fulfillment. And she ended up feeling much more alive as a writer and fulfilled too. So, I thought I would try it out!
I believe this is because of how wonderful it feels to be a child again, even if it is for an hour or two a week. It is a time for us to enter into the life and mindset of a child. And what a great mindset it is! Childhood is a time when everything is fun, and nothing is too serious. And to think that you can relive those feelings each time you sit down to write? That is amazing and worth pursuing—even if it is for a few hours a week.
Here are a few tips to do your best children’s writing:
- Set up a part of your office to write picture books. Have a few stuffed animals and a few fun props to get you into the mood of writing for kids.
- Have a few picture books on hand that you can read and just enjoy. Spend some time every week reading two or three picture books.
- Try reviewing a few picture books a month for your writer’s blog.
- Try writing a blog post about writing for children. List all the things that you are enjoying about writing for kids.
- Dress like a kid before you sit down to write. Have a baseball cap that you could put on. Or, put your hair in barrettes with a few ribbons. You may also want to put your hair up in a ponytail. Do anything to help you get into the mindset of a child.
- You may want to have a photo of yourself as a kid on your desk. Take it out when you are about to write for kids.
- Put on some children’s music. That usually can help get you into the mood to write for kids.
- Hang out with kids once in a while. If you don’t have kids of your own, spend some time with the kids in your neighbourhood. Listen to how they speak and act.
- Sit on the floor if you can when you are planning your picture book. That will help you get into the mindset of being a child too.
- Do childlike things once in a while. Eat from a children’s bowl or just enjoy a popsicle.
- Try not to take things too seriously when you are writing a picture book. That is how to get into the child-like mindset.
- Write freely without any expectations.
- Write about topics that you love and cherish.
- Think like a child and act like a child.
- Enter the world or unencumbered bliss.
- Have fun!
- Perhaps draft up your manuscripts with crayons or coloured pencils. Again, this will help you to get into the child’s mindset.
- Giggle once in a while just for the fun of it.
- Laugh and rejoice at the small things in life.
- Be a free spirit as often as possible.
- See things from different perspectives.
- Enjoy the journey of writing a picture book—kids never worry about the details.
- Rejoice at even small things that nature provides—such as a beautiful sunset or a light rain trickling on the rooftop.
- Live in the moment as often as possible.
- Enjoy baking and have a bake-out with the kids in the neighbour or your own grandchildren or children.
By taking these steps, you will be taking steps to think like a child. Then when you sit down to write, you will be able to enter that mindset much more easily.
Remember, writing for kids is supposed to be fun. And your life can really get a lot more fun if you enter the fun part of writing for kids.
If you are interested in trying to write picture books for personal fulfillment or full-time, please join me for a fun-filled workshop on writing the perfect picture book in a month. After a month, you will be hooked on writing picture books.
Irene S. Roth
Do you want to more tips on writing a children’s book? Then check out Irene’s workshop: Write that special picture book that will touch a child’s heart starting on June 6th.
Irene S. Roth has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and Psychology from York University and is currently using her expertise to write for kids about empowerment and self-esteem. She has published ten nonfiction books for kids and teens and thirty books for adults as well as over a thousand articles both online and in print. Lastly she has been running workshops at Savvy Authors on many different topics for a few years now and moderates author chats. She is also her second year in running a very successful mentoring group for writers through Savvy Authors.
This book outlines the seven habits of highly committed writers. Ms. Roth argues that a writer needs more than motivation to be a successful writer who completes writing projects. The writer must be committed by making a decision to complete a writing project through all the trials and tribulations that are inherent to the writing life. Ms. Roth’s E-book will help writers to be their best by developing the key habits that they need to be successful.