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about writing


So deep down inside, you really want to write?


But you don’t know how or where to begin. Or you just have the “no-confidence” blues and can't seem to get back to what you started.


What can you do to make yourself get busy writing?


  • Forget about writing the story. 

Books are not necessary to life in the same sense that air and water are needed to sustain the body.

Yet a good book provides deep emotional and intellectual satisfaction—so much so that many adults and children cannot imagine life without the joy of great stories.

The following quotes about books show how universal this attitude is.

There is a Chinese proverb that states: "A book is like a garden carried in the pocket."

"Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own." ~William Hazlitt

"A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul." ~Franz Kafk

"Books are the bees which


Writers know that rejection letters are part of the business, and we try to brace ourselves for them.


The worst kind is the impersonal form letter or card that reads—

Dear Author,
Thank you for thinking of Only the Best Publishing, but your manuscript does not fit our needs at this time. We wish you success in placing it elsewhere.
The Editors

The form rejection letter is discouraging because if offers no suggestions for improvement. Of course, rejections only go to those who submit manuscripts, so you are further along than if you hadn't submitted at all. That probably doesn’t help, so try this one. Highly successful authors like J. K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss and Madeleine L"Engle got the same treatment. Madeleine L"Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME was turned down 29 times. Rowling first submitted 


On Mother's Day, we honor our moms for their love and lifelong support.


For writers, that includes encouragement for our writing dreams.


While we cherish such support, we need to remember that a mother's opinion is highly prejudiced. Remember the drawing you did at five? It probably ended up on the refrigerator door, not in a gallery. Likewise, just because Mom loves your kid's book doesn't mean an editor will. Editors know what kids like and what gives a book kid appeal.

In my workbook, Write a Marketable Children's Book,  there is a section called "Discover the Magic of Kid Appeal." In it, I show how you can appeal to kids today.

You do so with a story that:

  1. Has a sense of fun and joy.


"Marley was dead, to begin with." 


This short, punchy line is the first sentence in A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens.


But Lewis Carroll took his time with the opening of ALICE IN WONDERLAND. "Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice 'without pictures or conversation?'"

No matter the length of the opening, masterful authors


When I recently queried a Random House editor with a new nonfiction idea, I pitched the book as a fun resource for third or fourth grade teachers to use during a particular season.


I also mentioned that there were no books with my slant on the subject for that age group.


The editor responded, “I like the idea and think it would have a great seasonal hook.” Along with the editorial board, the editor is considering my idea, and I hope to get a go-ahead on the manuscript.

Teachers buy books that link to curriculum topics--like seasons and holidays. But aren’t there too many seasonal books for kids already? There seems to be an endless list of books about Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, etc. Just a search of “Easter books for kids" brought 1,222 hits. So how do you make your idea or manuscript a cut above the others an editor receives?


When we write for children, we must create characters that engage young readers immediately. 


Let’s examine the personalities of a few famous characters that have captured many hearts.



Remember Pippi Longstocking in the The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking? (She's really Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking.)

Pippi’s appeal is