After deciding to write a children’s picture book, I jumped in with great gusto. In the early days of January 2016, I had a story written. Easy! I knew I could do this. Then began the investigation into, how to get a story published. How hard can it be?
What do you do if you don’t know something? Google of course. I found a video clip on how to submit a manuscript to a publisher on YouTube. It showed me how to search for a publisher and how to find the submission guidelines, with lots of helpful tips. A point which was laboured, was the value of investing in a copy of The Children’s Writer’s and Artists Year Book.
The book gave me an insight into all aspects of the publishing business. It also included great advice from respected authors, which was not only helpful, but encouraging and inspiring. I was hooked.
With great enthusiasm, I looked up the book publishers of the picture books my 4-year-old had on his bedroom shelves. I found their details and websites and their all important submission guidelines…there was no stopping me.
I re-read my manuscript (no longer referred to as my “story”) checked the grammar, spelling, word count and drafted a covering letter. The on-line tips had advised sending the manuscript to 6 publishers. That’s exactly what I did.
A good friend of mine suggested this technique. Each morning write 3 pages of A4 as a stream of consciousness ie; no editing, just free writing. Write as soon as you wake. Julia Cameron devised what she called The Morning Pages in her book “The Artist’s Way”and it has now become a practise followed by many writers.
Always ready for a new challenge and up for learning new techniques, I began this morning. It’s half term school holidays, so I was in bed later than usual. At 8.15am I began writing and 20 minutes later I had my 3 pages.
The unexpected benefit I found, was the peacefulness that I experienced whilst writing. The words and content didn’t matter. I had to stop myself editing at times, but a strange sense of freedom arose. Perhaps by knowing the work is not intended to be read by anyone else, removed any external pressures? Whatever forces were in play, I shall be trying it again tomorrow to see where this path leads. Tomorrow my alarm goes off at 6.10am, will my eyes be able to focus that early?
Try it for yourself; google The Morning Pages. If you already use this method, let me know what you think. Do you find it useful?
Like everyone, I started writing in school. I loved English Literature. Also like many, life became exciting as I left school and I was distracted by friends, love, money and moving out. This was followed by career and family. Before I knew it I had two children and had forgotten all about writing.
As I read bedtime stories to my two angels (I’m biased I know), I would sometimes think; I could write this. Then my interest grew and my convictions became stronger. I knew I could write a children’s story. Admittedly, there are some classic writers out there, Julia Donaldson’s work has become a brand, she is so talented. However, (in my humble opinion) there are also some very average books out there. I reasoned that I should try to write something that falls within the spectrum of average to genius, and see how it turned out.
That was the beginning.