One Writer’s Journey

February 14, 2017

Love and Writing: Do you have what it takes to write children’s nonfiction?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:20 am
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heart-762564_1920I will never forget when I called me mom to tell her that I’d decided to write for kids. I was a university research assistant and about to finish a masters in history.  I loved learning but I had pretty much had it with university level education. I’d taken scads of classes, written papers and even a thesis based on original research.  I was ready for something new.

I expected Mom to ask me if this was the best use of my degree.  I expected a question or twelve.  She only had one thing to say.  “It’s about time you figured it out.”  You gotta love a woman who knows her kids well enough to know when they’ve landed the ideal career.

The reality is that writing children’s nonfiction is perfect for me.  I’m something of a factual pack rat.  I love information.  Archaeology?  It is THE BEST.  Biology?  What could possibly be more exciting!  Ethnography?  Fascinating!  Teaching someone how to write a specific type of poem, create a painting that displays tints and shades, or how to make a reflective model of a cat’s eye?  More fun that you can possibly imagine!

Is what you are currently writing your true love? If not, keep looking.  I’ve heard of writers struggling for years in one genre only to try another and discover a perfect fit.

You might also want to consider the following questions:

Are you interested in a wide variety of topics?

Do you find yourself trying to figure out how something works or is assembled?

Do you get lost when you do research, following one fact to another to another until you are in the midst of something else entirely?

Do you love learning something new?  Trying something new?  Helping someone else explore something new?

If you answered yes to these questions, you might seriously consider children’s nonfiction.  Or you could ask your mom.  She may have already figured out your perfect job.





July 31, 2014

Love What You Do

Love what you doYes, as a working writer, I need to earn and income.  If I can’t pay the electric company, out go the lights.  And the desktop.  You get the picture.

But I’ve also learned some tough lessons about taking work just for the money.  In short, don’t do it.  Your lack of enthusaism may not show in your writing, but it will show in your attitude.  Why torment those around you in the brick and mortar world when you can use the same energy to torment your characters?

No, it is simply much better to write about things you love.  Fortunately, the things that fascinate me are many and they are diverse.  I was that kid in school who loved math and english and geography and social studies and biology . . . This enthusiasm for a wide variety of topics is reflected in my nonfiction writing.

In May, I submitted the young adult book on the Ancient Maya.  I’ve got degrees in anthropology and history so this was a topic custom-made for me.  They could have given me just about any culture and I would have been happy but I got to pick one that fascinates me.  Woo-hoo.

I’ve got a work in progress that I just need to polish up.  It is a picture book on animal coloration.  As a biology nut, I love learning about animals and how they function in their environments.  Environments.  I can be just as fascinated studying about the desert as I am reading up on grasslands or forest.

My current work-in-progress is a mildly (to me) disgusting book on the biology of vomit. What is it?  Why is it necessary?  And how does it function in a wide variety of species?

Fortunately, I can bring equal levels of enthusiasum to all of these topics as well as a variety of fiction picture books and novels.

What is it that you love? Are you writing about it in some way?  If not, what’s stopping you?




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