Yesterday I attended a children’s writing conference at Boise State University. Jennifer Nielsen, New York Times best-selling author of the Ascendance trilogy, blew me away. Jennifer’s sessions, “Say This, Not That” and “What Publishers Don’t Tell You,” really hit home. She was incredibly honest and motivating. My writing flame is burning bright once again and I now have fresh ambition for the next time someone says one of the following statements to me…
What NOT to say to children’s writers:
1. I wish I had time to write a book.
Really?! Who HAS time to write a book? You make time. You wake up early. You go to bed late. You write while your kiddos are napping. Whatever it takes…you keep writing.
2. Writing is a nice hobby.
Writing is a career choice. It takes ambition and persistence. This is what I want to do. This is what I have to do. I am a writer.
3. Maybe one day, you can write a real book.
Children’s books are REAL books and they are REALLY significant in the industry. Just look at sales figures and top ten lists. Ever heard of Divergent?
4. How do you dumb it down for children?
Children require smarter writing. Children analyze, memorize, and re-read books. As a picture book author, I know it is incredibly difficult to write a book (with so few words) that will captivate kiddos. Every word has to count. Kids get bored easily.
5. Do you know famous writers?
Well, now I do. I met Jennifer Nielsen 🙂
6. You should write like these other famous authors.
Um…no. I’m not going to try to imitate famous authors. Yes, I get inspiration from them, but I have my own VOICE.
7. You’ll be rich.
I write because I love it. I want this to be my career, but I know it will take a lot of hard work. Money is not my motivation. I know I won’t earn six figures or get a movie deal for one of my PB manuscripts.
8. You’ll get used to the rejection letters.
Rejection stings. Rejection is part of the journey to success, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.
9. You might get bad reviews.
Yes. So what? Famous and popular books receive bad reviews all the time.
10. You’ll never make it.
This is my passion. I won’t give up. I can do it!
Thank you for this confidence booster, Jennifer! I look forward to hearing you speak again 🙂
New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; Book 6 of the Infinity Ring series, BEHIND ENEMY LINES, The Underworld Chronicles, beginning with ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR; and the forthcoming PRAETOR WAR series. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.
Visit Jennifer’s website to learn more about her work: http://www.jennielsen.com/