Five tips for writing a kids’ book in isolation, by Nat Amoore, author of The Power of Positive Pranking, published by Penguin Random House Australia:
So you’re staying home and staying safe? Got a bit of extra time on your hands while the gym is closed and ballet’s been cancelled? Perfect time to start that kids’ book you’ve always wanted to write?
Well, everyone’s saying ‘don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself’, and that you ‘don’t have to be productive right now’, and that’s true! If you want to eat Cheezels off your fingers while watching Quantum Leap on catch-up TV, then you go right ahead (or come over and join me on the couch). But if you’re really feeling it and the creative juices are flowing, then here’s five tips to get you started on that best-selling kids’ book!
- Steal ideas from your kids (or other people’s kids)!
Does this seem wrong? It’s not! You brought them up, the least they can do is give you fodder for your latest book. With lots of quality time being spent at home with your little ones, home schooling and entertaining, the things that come out of their mouths can go straight onto your pages. Or if you’re stuck for ideas, just ask them! ‘Hey Miss Seven, what would you do if you found out your babysitter was an alien?’ Chances are their answers will be WAY better than yours.
Don’t have kids? Never fear! There’s plenty of them out there. Just become a professional eavesdropper like me. The other day I walked past a dad and his two daughters (about 7 and 10) and the younger one said to him ‘So are we going to talk about it?’ and he said ‘Talk about what?’ and she said ‘The elephant in the room.’ After that they were out of earshot so I have no idea where that conversation went, but for sure I’ll use it in a book one day.
- Isolate yourself in isolation.
With everybody at home right now, it’s hard to find your own space to write. On top of that, all the cafés and libraries have been closed so trying to find some alone time to write can be tricky. Get creative! Kids grown out of the cubby house? Boom, new office for you! Family seems to be everywhere you go? Take your laptop into the toilet, the bath, even the shower if need be (*disclaimer* please don’t actually use shower at the same time – wet laptops will not be replaced). Are you the only one who deals with the dirty washing? Perfect! So no one will find you in the laundry.
- Follow some writing hashtags to get inspired.
You’re not alone. Lots of other people are out there trying to do the same as you and we all need support and motivation. Here’s some great hashtags to follow – #6amAusWriters for all you early birds who need to squeeze the writing in before getting accosted by the rest of the house. #LoveOzPB #LoveOzMG #LoveOzYA (depending on your book’s target age group) – to see what comparable books people are loving out there. #WritingCommunity – for some general good vibes and pain sharing.
- Push forward. Don’t look back.
Don’t re-read every single sentence you write. Come back and fix it later. It’s not supposed to be perfect yet. Much like life, if you keep looking back, it’s hard to see forward. Try and get the story out before you go back and start tweaking things. This is great for your confidence too because as you see the word count build, you’ll feel a serious sense of achievement – leading to more writing.
- Go easy on yourself – if writing a book was a breeze, everyone would be doing it.
It’s not easy to do and it’s even harder to do well. Have fun with it. Be crazy. Be funny. Be joyous. Be sweet. Remember the joy of reading as a child and put that into your story. And when it’s not working, have a cuppa, go for a walk, play Lego with your kids, climb a tree or listen to a podcast (I hear there’s a great one about kids’ books called One More Page *shameless self-promotion*). Then come back to it fresh!
Now that I’ve imparted my oh-so-great-author-wisdom onto you, best of luck with your writing endeavours. For me, it’s back to the Cheezels and Quantum Leap. Happy writing!