So You Want to Write A Children’s Book…or…Finding a Passion

Actually, maybe you don’t want to write a children’s book.  Maybe that’s the absolutely last thing on earth you’d ever wish on your worst enemy.

I respect that.

Maybe you’re reading this because there’s an occasional oddball story including one of my kids’ humorous antics…or a confession about the tears I frequently shed while banging my head against the wall, trying not to lose my focus on my novel.

Still, I’m so glad you’re here.

No matter why you’re reading this blog, I promise you’ll always hear the truth.

My maternal grandmother, Edna Jane, always used to say Jesus Christine, you’re just so earthy. She certainly didn’t mean that as a way of describing me as a crunchy, granola licking, makeup-free hippie chick from Evanston, Illinois (although I’ve been known to crunch the granola and forgo makeup on many occasions).  She meant it as a way of saying I was brutally honest.  Sort of in a shocking, Joan Rivers, Chelsea Handler kind of way…calling it like I see it, saying what someone else might think — yet hesitate to say.

There was a huge chunk of my life — early 20s through my 30s — when I was trying desperately to find my voice.  My honest voice.  My meaningful self that could connect deeply with people.  At that time, I bounced from business job to business job, trying to fit where I thought I ought to be.  That time was beyond bleak, working in positions I honestly hated.  If you’ve had that experience, you know it’s almost too painful to put into words, but I’ll try.  You dread waking up.  Dread the decisions that led you there.  Dread the future.  Dread putting one foot in front of another.

People work in jobs they hate all the time…often because there isn’t an alternative or an option to get out.

I slowly opened my heart and my mind to new experiences.  Earning my teaching certificate was my first baby-step toward finding my true voice. It afforded me the gift of working with children.  There’s magic in their wonder and enthusiasm; honesty and pure emotion unlike anything else in life.  Whether a child is typical or developmentally delayed, you are guaranteed to see who they are at all times — no airs, no pretense, no posturing.  Kids are earthy, alright.   They can’t help it.  They say it like they feel it.

And so, it only makes sense that my earthy personality connects easily with children, through teaching or writing or just plain connecting.  For God’s sake, I don’t fancy myself a “natural” with kids, and I’ve had hundreds of moments I’d rather not recount when my patience ran thin with a classroom or a child — particularly my own.  But I feel at ease with kids, probably because I’m so very much like them.  Very few things motivate me as much as helping  people — especially children — who are struggling inside.

Funky segue, but hang with me here…My journey toward becoming a published children’s author brings me to many peaks and valleys.  The valleys sometimes appear as feelings of defeat or exhaustion, but the peaks include stumbling across a site like www.calla.com.  It provides concrete basics for writers wrapping their heads around the “requirements” of children’s publishing.

And so, to have lived through seemingly dreadful times and come out on the “other side”, doing what I love to do — writing — I can only share my words of encouragement to others stumbling into this world like I did.

Open your heart, and your mind will listen for the things you need.

Open your mind, and your heart will lead you toward the right decisions.

It’s scary, but find your voice by asking for help when you need it.

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2 responses to “So You Want to Write A Children’s Book…or…Finding a Passion

  1. Dear Christine,
    Being truly honest with oneself — so difficult –when one has so many selves. The Mom self, the wife self, the friend self, writer self, the questioning self, the cynical self, the trusting self, the don’t-take-anything-too seriously self and the get-incensed-over-whatever self.
    True to oneself — that’s better for me, reacting as I feel in a certain situation. I haven’t found my true voice yet. Every time I read a new book I love, I find myself loving that author’s voice — and finding a little of myself in it. Am I funny, serious, sentimental, analytical, intellectual, wacky? I can be all of the above — and finding the voice that works best for me is still an ongoing search. You have found your calling in writing and that’s a wonderful feeling. I love reading what you have to say!

    • Linda,
      Know what? I think you actually have the best of both worlds: you’ve got your own voice (which is always honest and thoughtful and knows how to explore deeply into a wide array of topics); you also know how to appreciate and others’ voices, especially those you read in your favorite books. Being able to see a little of yourself in so many of them is a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? I’ve experienced that, too, and it leaves me feeling very empowered. Thank you for commenting.

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