I’ve never written a lengthy blog post so I decided to give it a try. I’m sharing what I like to write, why I write, what inspires me, and what motivates me to keep writing after each rejection letter.
What do I like to write? At the moment and hopefully into the distant future, I enjoy writing stories for children. I like writing poetry, but picture books with rhymes are my favorite kind of stories. I can visualize each scene as I write it and if I’m struggling I will sketch pictures on the sides of my paper to help me think of new ideas. Sometimes if I can’t think of where to direct the story, it helps if I draw the main character in different settings, poses and facial expressions.
Why I write? I write because its fun to invent characters and unique worlds out of thin air. I write because I want to keep improving on my skills as a writer. There is so much I don’t know and want to know. I write for my kid’s reactions. I love it when they laugh or want me to go on. My son will try to help me fix my story or even add to it when needed. He’s great at that kind of stuff. The best part of sharing my hobby with my kids is when I catch them making their own stories and drawing their own pictures. I’ll add one last thing about why I write. I guess I want to make myself proud that I can stick with something I know I can be truly be good at. It doesn’t hurt to have your family proud of what you do too.
What inspires me? Random things my kids say inspire new stories to pop into my head. Also, being outside will bring fresh ideas. My kid’s tv shows always sparks fun things to write about. Sometimes, my husband says funny things in general and it sounds like a pretty interesting book title, so I’ll quickly write it down. I have a whole file just for book titles. One day my husband was discussing the issues with the elephants’ habitat at the local zoo. He asked, “How much room does an elephant need?” *light bulb* Why not write a funny children’s story about an elephant arriving at the zoo and they put him into a space smaller than a chicken coop? Or a boy takes an elephant home one day and realizes the dog’s house will not be big enough for his new pet. I have more ideas, but I won’t bore you with them.
Lastly, I’ll share what inspired me not to long ago to begin writing for children. First, some back story: when I was in third grade I wrote a few short stories and shared one with my entire class. I was so embarrassed I ran out of the classroom crying. (still a vivid memory) I thought the story wasn’t very good, but my teacher later told me the class wanted to hear the rest of it and so did she. I got in front of them for the second time and finished my story. About five years ago, I found my report card from that same year and it said in the comments box, “Jennifer is very good at storytelling…” After reading those few words, I was somehow inspired to see if that were still true today. And here I am writing.
What motivated me to keep writing after each rejection letter? I'm happy to share that my rejection letters are slowly getting better. That helps when you start to see comments. I finally got a contract in October 2011 for my first children’s illustrated book from a small publishing company. That helps too. Deep down, I know that I will always love my hobby and nobody can take it away from me. It doesn’t cost a thing to write. It may cost money to improve your writing skills, join the conferences, and sign up for workshops but even if you don’t have the money for any of that good stuff right now (like myself) there are still ways to improve. For me, I write everyday. I may not always writing new stuff, but I revise my old stuff everyday. Also, I go to the library each week and take out a good share of picture books. I’m always wondering if the librarians cringe when they see me coming. There’s the crazy picture book lady who’s taken out every GD kids book…twice! Not really, but I do wonder if they cringe.
Another thing that keeps me motivated is the CBI Clubhouse http://cbiclubhouse.com/ They helped me form my very own critique group two years ago. The first week of each month they provide a newsletter with eight pages of brand new information on soliciting publishing house's and helpful writing tips. It cost half the price of SCBWI http://www.scbwi.org/
One day I will upgrade to the SCBWI, but for now I’m more than happy with the Clubhouse.
Thanks for letting me share with you.
So, what keeps you motivated to write after receiving a rejection letter?