Written by Laura Backes


by Laura Backes, Publisher, Children's Book Insider,repparttar Newsletter for Children's Writers

Suppose you've just gone through a divorce and lost custody of your kids. Or a loved one has recently died of cancer. Or you struggled in school as a child because you have dyslexia.

Many writers turn difficult periods in their lives into books for children, hoping to help young readers through similar painful experiences. Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating and selling books based on real-life events:

Remember that you're writing a children's book, not a personal essay intended to purge your soul from a painful memory. Children want to read about how they feel. Many writers create a child character and tellrepparttar 129420 story through that character's eyes. Don't write in first person ifrepparttar 129421 "I" is you,repparttar 129422 adult author. Instead of explaining how bad you feel that your kids no longer live with you, show how a five-year-old character feels about only getting to see Daddy every other weekend.

Books for younger children (up to age eight) centering around a personal crisis are generally most effective ifrepparttar 129423 author uses a fictional vehicle for impartingrepparttar 129424 information. If you want to stick closer to nonfiction, make surerepparttar 129425 book focuses onrepparttar 129426 child inrepparttar 129427 center ofrepparttar 129428 event, and is told in a narrative format with a beginning, middle and end. Older children can handle more traditional self-help books, with each chapter concentrating on a specific aspect ofrepparttar 129429 problem. However, interspersingrepparttar 129430 advice with personal anecdotes from other children who have gone throughrepparttar 129431 same thing will makerepparttar 129432 information more appealing and relevant torepparttar 129433 readers.

Targeting appropriate publishers with these manuscripts is important. Look in subject index of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market under "Self Help" and "Special Needs" for publishers. Peruserepparttar 129434 children's nonfiction section of a large bookstore, and read reviews in Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal and Horn Book (trade magazines found in most libraries) to see which publishers do similar types of books. Always send a self-addressed, stamped envelope torepparttar 129435 children's editorial department asking for writer's guidelines before submitting your manuscript. You can also look at books written for parents to help their children cope with an illness, loss or divorce, and queryrepparttar 129436 publisher asking if they'd like to publish a children's book onrepparttar 129437 same topic.

Beating Perfection Syndrome so you can write

Written by Angela Booth

Copyright 2002 by Angela Booth

It's Saturday afternoon. Your partner has takenrepparttar kids torepparttar 129418 park. You have a whole hour to write. Instead of which, you sit, staring outrepparttar 129419 window like Rodin's Thinker in jeans and a yellow sweatshirt. Why aren't you writing? A tiny item called Perfection Syndrome. You want whatever you write in this precious hour to be perfect.

Duringrepparttar 129420 week, you had a stream of plausible ideas. You wrote three ideas in your notebook: an article about children's first words (your six month old said 'truck'), an essay about male vanity, and a short story about a blonde with tattooed arms and a poodle.

Just now, none of those ideas seems right. You've only got an hour, so you wantrepparttar 129421 perfect idea,repparttar 129422 one that will justifyrepparttar 129423 sixty minutes you're about to spend on it. Instead, you do nothing.

Perfection Syndrome can destroy your writing career. It's a killer, because if you don't recognise it for what it is, it leads to apathy. The gap between what's in your head and what manifests onrepparttar 129424 page is so wide that you may give up writing for days or weeks.

I understand Perfection Syndrome, because it's something I battle every day. The words onrepparttar 129425 screen orrepparttar 129426 page never measure up torepparttar 129427 words in my head. I start typing, and after a sentence or two, stop. The words "this is garbage" light up like neon in my skull, my stomach clenches, and I feel as if a ten ton weight had dropped onto my body. It's not as if I'm a new writer. I've been writing for over 20 years. Intellectually, I understand that it's important to get words ontorepparttar 129428 screen --- any words. You can fix whatever you write. Emotionally, I wantrepparttar 129429 first draft to be perfect. I've accepted that perfectionism is part of my personality, and without a personality transplant, I'm never going to get rid of it, so all I can do is out-write it.

Yes, out-write it. A practice that's helped is Julia Cameron's Morning Pages method, which is detailed in her books: The Artist's Way, and Vein of Gold. The first thing I do each morning is write three pages in longhand. This primesrepparttar 129430 pump, and if I accomplishrepparttar 129431 Morning Pages, I know that I can count on a productive writing day, and Perfection Syndrome is beaten for this 24 hours at least.

Updating my inner "writer" image also helped. Images arerepparttar 129432 language ofrepparttar 129433 right brain andrepparttar 129434 subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind isrepparttar 129435 engine which drives you. My initial image of my writing self was of a mountain climber, clinging to vertical rock and ice, unable to seerepparttar 129436 mountain peak, but terrorized by a crevasse below. No wonder I needed every word to be perfect, ifrepparttar 129437 alternative was death. A more nourishing image popped into my mind. I saw my writing self as a seed-sower,repparttar 129438 old-time kind, with a deep hessian bag of seeds, walking alongrepparttar 129439 furrows of a field of fertile soil, scattering seeds with both hands. Now, whenever I feel panicked about my writing, I visualize myself asrepparttar 129440 sower, scattering those seeds. Ask yourself what image you hold of yourself as a writer.

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