Writing Picture Books Is Easy!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Gah! Are you kidding me? When I started writing in February I thought I'd get an idea down on paper, tweak it a bit and then start submitting. I'd heard this process took a while, so in a year or so I'd have my contract (for a gagillion dollars of course!) in hand and voila!

Oh wow, what a humbling experience writing picture books is. It's SO hard. You have to come up with an amazing, fresh idea, write it in 600 words (400 or less is better). You have to have a conflict or problem that speaks to a child. It must have takeaway value (what the what??).

Andrea Davis Pinkney at the LA SCBWI conference shared that a friend told her, "I'm thinking of making a little money on the side by writing children's books." Andrea related that her friend might as well have said, "I'm going to make a little money on the side by becoming a professional ballet dancer." (SCBWI Conference Blog)

And here are Mem Fox's thoughts on picture book writing. I read this and I don't know whether to laugh and keep writing, or cry and throw in the towel on this crazy picture book writing notion!

Mem Fox (author of 40 children's books)'s "speech about the story behind the story of Where Is The Green Sheep?"

"Those who have heard me before will know how much I detest writing picture books. You will know that I loved writing this speech because it kept me from having to writing for children! Writing picture books is not what I live and breathe, in my daily life. It nibbles merely at the edges of my life. If it took up any more of my life it would be the death of me. Believe me, you wouldn’t want the misery of writing for the very young to take up any more than 10% of your time either, unless, of course, you enjoy being on Prozac and you look great in a strait-jacket. Writing picture books is madness. It’s hell on earth. Let me take you through the process so you can weep along with me and send me sympathy cards afterwards." (read the rest here!)

Ah well, when it comes down to it, if you love it, you gotta do it. And so I shall persist and perhaps someday publish . . .

Happy writing all!

6 comments :

Robb said...

Were you at the LA conference?

Robb said...

Were you at the LA conference?

Meg Miller said...

Just reading the LA SCBWI Blog! Would have loved to have gone, but didn't get to this year. :)

Teresa Robeson said...

It's why I write more than one genre. I don't want to have to take Prozac (although a padded room where I don't have to clean toilets sounds pretty nice). ;)

Meg Miller said...

LOL Teresa! I think I'll have to try another genres/markets too, It's SO hard!! >_<

Meg Miller said...

LOL Teresa! I think I'll have to try another genres/markets too, It's SO hard!! >_<