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Indiana Writers’ Consortium inspires and builds a community of creative writers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Peggy Archer gives tips to writers of Children's Books

Hello! My name is Peggy Archer, and I am a children’s author. I belong to the Indiana Writers’ Consortium (IWC) and have enjoyed connecting to writers of all genres here in northwest Indiana through IWC. You can find out more about me and my books on my website at www.peggyarcher.com.

Are you a children’s writer? Just getting started, or looking for a way to jumpstart your writing in the new year? Here’s a list of things you can do to keep yourself on track.

1—Read Children’s Books. Which ones did you like, and why? Read picture books out loud. Feel the rhythm of the words. Taste the language.

2—Set realistic goals. Writing 15 minutes a day, or a couple hours a week is better than waiting for a whole day that’s free before you sit down to write. Break your goals down into small steps that can be accomplished weekly or monthly on your way to reaching your long-term goals.

3—Write as often as you can. The more you write the better you will become. Don’t stress if you can’t write as much as you like. You can always think about ideas, and first lines, sitting in the car or waiting for an appointment. Keep a notebook with you, or a tape recorder, for times when you need to write those words down.

4—Learn all you can about writing for children. Read books and publications for children’s writers, look at websites and blogs, and talk to other children’s writers.

5—Join a critique group with other children’s writers. It helps to get feedback from others who understand the genre. It also gives you a deadline to have something written.

6—Attend conferences for children’s writers. This is a wonderful way to network with other children’s writers, meet editors, expand your marketing possibilities, and get professional critiques on your work.

7—Join SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). This is an immense resource for children’s writers. Check their website at www.scbwi.org.

8—Research the markets. Read the current Children’s Writers & Illustrators Market Book. Read newsletters and magazines for children’s writers. Check out publishers’ catalogs and guidelines, on line or at your library. Read children’s books and look to see who publishes them.

9—Submit. Once you’ve written your story as best as it can be and researched the markets, submit your work. Submit to children’s magazines, too. Acceptances there are rewarding and encouraging.

10—Enter contests; apply for grants. Remember, there are other benefits besides winning. Beware of those charging a fee and check them out thoroughly first.

Staying on the right track can bring you closer to reaching your goals as a children’s writer. I hope you enjoy the ride!

Peggy Archer