I have been dreaming about writing picture books and fiction for young children ever since I became a teacher and then as a mum. After this horrendous year, thanks to the 2020 pandemic, I decided to take the plunge and start learning the craft of writing picture books and chapter books.
This is my five point plan to get me started
They say as a writer you should read. Reading the latest picture books will help you understand the craft. I already have a collection of picture books, many from well established authors such as Alison Lester, Margaret Wild, Mem Fox and Jackie French (just to name a few). I also have my favourite illustrators. My two favourite illustrators are Stephen Michael King and Julie Vivas. You don't have to spend a lot of money. I go to my local library and borrow all the latest picture books. When I fall in love with the story and the illustrations, as a compete package, I do purchase it for my personal collection.
Writers need to allow themselves the freedom to think. To let your imagination run free; with no pressure, no expectations. My best ideas come when I'm running, walking the dog or driving to and from work. I have actually learnt to love housework as this gives me time to just ponder and think of new ideas. Make sure that you have a notebook and pen handy to capture all those wonderful ideas.
Doing courses and workshops will help you refine your craft. Picture books follow a specific formula and format. They are not as easy as they look. They require practice ... practice and more practice. I am currently completing a course on Writing Picture Books with the Australian Writer's Centre. In 2021, I have signed up to work with a Picture Book author in submitting drafts for feedback over five months. I am also planning on joining the 12X12 Challenge: 12 Picture Books in 12 Months.
You will never be published if you don't write. So write and write. Draft all the time. Kick out that inner critique and pesky perfectionist attitude and put that bum glue on and write. Not everything is going to be perfect, but amongst some of the not so good, you will find a gem or two. Besides, the more you write the better you will become. You know what they say? Practice makes perfect ... all the time.
Start to build resilience and confidence by showing your work. Find a writing group, join one on social media. Go to conferences and pitch your ideas. Submit to competitions. Writers need thick skins and we need to accept that rejection comes with success. You don't have to take on board every bit of feedback, but when you do, you may find that your work will be shine because of it.
Well, this is my first article. The plan is to write one a month. Until next time,
Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. Dr Seuss
Image courtesy of Tirachard Kumtanom @ Pexels.com