If you have a passion for writing, whether you are young or old, then I would recommend that you write about what you know and you write about what you like. This is because your knowledge, interest and love of this subject matter will show in your writing. Immerse yourself within the topic you have chosen to write about. Spend time in that environment and understand the audience you are writing for. I am fortunate to be invited into schools for author visits and to judge children’s writing competitions. Not only do I thoroughly enjoy these ‘extra-curricular’ activities that I’m asked to do, but I’m able to engage with the audience that I write my Whimsy Wood children’s series for and this is vital.
The next thing I would say is that you must sit down and write. I know this sounds simple in theory, but there can be so many distractions and other things that you can find to do, rather than actually start writing. Facing a blank page in your notebook, or blank screen on your laptop can be very off-putting, daunting and even a little scary! So much so that during creative writing workshops that I run for children aged 8-12 years old, the first thing that I’ll ask them to do, is to pick up their pen or pencil and scribble all over the blank piece of paper that is sat staring up at them from their desk. Once they’ve ‘beaten the blank piece of paper’ so to speak, and got their pen or pencil in contact with the paper, we then turn the paper over and start our creative writing workshop properly!
Don’t hold back, or let yourself get hung-up on grammar or sentence structure initially. What’s important when you first start writing, is to get the storyline that is whirling itself around in your head, down on paper. Once you’ve got that down, then go back and correct your grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Be prepared to rewrite your work numerous times, until you are completely and utterly satisfied with what you have written. Ok, so you now have your brilliantly written manuscript in front of you. Are you going to go down the route of self-publishing, or that of being traditionally published? I chose the route of traditional publication, so I can pass on any tips, pointers or advice that I have gained, following my own road to publication.
First things first, you must believe 110% in what you have written and created. If you don’t believe whole-heartedly in your story, novel or series, no-one else will. Always remember that the world of literature, especially children’s literature is incredibly competitive. You will come across rejection, but do not be put off by this and do not give up. If you receive a rejection letter, pick yourself up, rework your manuscript and resubmit it to another publishing house or literary agent. Please accept and understand that this is the ‘nature of the beast’. Take on any constructive criticism, if you’re fortunate enough to receive this, following submitting your manuscript and realise that every successfully published author has gone through a similar journey.
Finally, ensure you create yourself a support network of fellow writers on your road to and after publication. Join local writing groups and get yourself a writing coach. I subscribed to Suzanne Lieurance’s ‘The Morning Nudge’ a few years ago and receiving these free, daily emails really helped maintain my focus. If you are writing for children, then I would highly recommend that you join the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). You do not have to be a published author to be able to join this wonderfully supportive international group. Writing can, at times, be a little lonely and insular, so having these groups and regular interaction with like-minded people, really does help further your writing career.
All that is left for me to say on the subject of writing tips, is that I have a wonderfully inspirational quote hanging up in my bedroom, which I read every morning and every night. This quote is by the marvellous Audrey Hepburn and says…. ‘ Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m possible”. ‘
On that note, I’d better get on with some ‘Whimsy Wood’ writing of my own! Wishing you all a wonderfully whimsical weekend! 😊📚✨