When you write for a living, sometimes you have to remind yourself that writing for children is fun. No really. It is. Or at least it had better be. If you don’t have fun, your readers won’t have fun either.
So how do you remind yourself to have fun? Some people manage to do it by writing fun, silly things. I take that kind of work when I can but I’m a nonfiction writer. When I write about history, I can’t always manage to make it fun. Did you hear the one about Pearl Harbor? See. It just doesn’t work.
Even when I’m working on something heavy, the fun props in my office can remind me about the lighter side of writing for a young audience. I’ve had my John Adams bobblehead for years. Yes, I have a John Adams bobblehead. He came with a review copy of John, Paul, George and Ben by Lane Smith and probably reveals a bit too much about what a history geek I am.
There’s an okapi figurine just because they are one of my favorite mysterious beasties.
My most recent acquisiting was a Christmas gift from my husband — dancing baby Groot. Touch a button and he dances to “I Want You Back.” He also dances to any music that I play. Or when I sneeze. Or laugh too loud. Groot is definitely my most outgoing office mate. He must have known I was writing about it because he just gave a little wiggle for no good reason at all.
Find a way to remind yourself about the fun side of writing. Engage your sense of play. It’s vital when you write, even about serious topics, for a younger audience.