So, you want to learn how to write children’s book ? Awesome! Writing a children’s book is one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences imaginable.
In this guide, we will share 11 steps of how to write children’s book with you, and provide great information that will make your journey enjoyable, easy and fun. We hope you will be inspired and encouraged by what you will learn here. We also hope that you will make the big step that has lifted many people from “wannabe” status to being successful authors.
So, let’s jump into the steps.
Step 1: Get the Right Mindset
If you dream of writing for children because you see it as a route to fame and riches, it’s time to be honest: That’s probably not going to happen. Sure, it could happen – J.K. Rowling’s doing it quite nicely. But the vast majority of children’s writers do it for love, not for money. They have a passion for sharing ideas and connecting with young readers that means more than wealth or recognition. If you have that passion, than all of the lonely hours of writing and the occasional rejection letter are just small prices to pay for the opportunity to create something wonderful and (hopefully) lasting.
So let’s start our journey by looking inward. You will need to answer some questions before you start. Take whatever time you need and answer them honestly. Here are the questions:
This isn’t a quiz, and there are no right or wrong answers. But there are some things you need to understand before we proceed:
Writing takes time. Anyone who tells you that you can knock out a children’s book, send it off to a paying publisher and see your book on the shelves in a couple of months isn’t being truthful. You’ll have peaks and valleys on your journey that will require patience and perseverance.
It is not easy. Contrary to what you may have been told, writing children’s books is not easier than writing for adults. Yes, kids’ books are shorter, but that just makes things more challenging. The author Mem Fox put it best: “Writing a picture book is like writing ‘War and Peace’ in haiku.”
Craft is Everything. There are two kinds of writers – those who say “I’ve written my story. Where do I send it?’; and those who say “I’ve written my first draft. How do I make the plot smoother, the dialogue better and the characters more believable?”. Can you guess which author invariably succeeds?
Writing is an art. Mastering it offers the same challenges and rewards of mastering the violin, or skiing or painting. Take your time, sharpen your skill, learn to love the journey. Publishing will always be out there but, if you really want to make it, worry more about being a skilled writer. The rest will take care of itself.
Don’t Preach. You have a message you want to impart to kids? That’s fine. But chill. No one, young or old, wants to read a story that practically bangs them over the head with a “moral”. Skillful writers know how to subtly incorporate their message into a compelling read. Until you master your craft, stick to making kids laugh, or gasp with fear or swoon with romance before you try to tell them something “important”.
Relax. For all its challenges, starting a children’s writing career is a truly wonderful adventure. You’ll meet amazing folks along the way, learn more about yourself than you ever imagined and, ultimately, make your mark on the life of a young reader. That’s pretty cool. Just remember to have patience, stay the course, invest in learning to sharpen your skills and keep on writing no matter what. The payoff is certain to be worth it!
Now go back and look at the answers you provided to the questions above. Do they fit with what we have just covered? Are there some areas that will require a bit of attitude adjustment? Let all of this sink in a bit and revisit those questions later. You might just find that you are very much prepared for the journey ahead.
We will look at the second step of how to write children’s book in the next article – Choose Your Age Group.
© 2014 Wendy Palmer’s Blog.