Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why I Write

    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 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
   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?


  1. Oh, I love that you found the old report card. It's so cool. I wish I could draw, and rhymn.

    I keep writing because I haven't received rejections yet. I know I will. And because it's still so much fun for me.

    Great post.

  2. I wish I could rhyme. I often commit the crimes of rhyme, so call me a criminal. I'm glad you keep writing after rejections. I think they make each of us a better writer. (Of course, I'm not at the submission stage of my Picture Book stuff. Rejection for my memoir didn't kill me, so I think I'll survive.) Glad to hear about the Clubhouse. I wondered about that group. I'm a member of SCBWI and have found a critique group there.

  3. So glad that you wrote this blog today and let us know you! Congratulations on your contract and you fall release -- exciting! I'm in awe of you talent with rhyming and illustration. I don't do either. Also enjoyed listening to how your kids are your critics -- what a great example you are to them! Lovely post!

  4. @Jenny- I wish I could draw & rhymn like the pros. I'll keep trying. :)

    @Stacy- Yeah, the rejections do make you stronger. Glad you found a critique group with SCBWI.

    @Patricia- Thank you for the compliments! So glad you stopped by and let me share a little.

  5. That's the cutest little story of 3rd-grade you!

    I had a hard time after my latest rejection letter (last week). I moped around for days, and I still don't really feel like I'm over it. My writers' group helps when I'm feeling down. They're completely honest with their critiques, but also very good at building you up when you need it. :)

    But mostly, I know that no matter how many rejections I get, I have to get these stories told and I won't let myself give up!

  6. Laughing here. I thought I was the only one who received that rejection letter suggesting I try my hand at anything but writing!

    Loved your long post. Glad you find creating characters and stories for them to live in exciting and rewarding.

  7. Thanks so much for stopping by Lee. I'm glad it made you laugh too!

  8. You had me at "picture books with rhyme are my favorite"!

    Congrats on the new book!

  9. Thank you Cathy. So glad you stopped by!


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