How can *I* be a writer/author when I grow up?

Q: How can *I* be a writer/author when I grow up?
A: Well first, don’t give up!  If you have a dream, pursue it!  Even if someone tells you that you can’t be a writer because you won’t make any money, or the whole family has been doctors and you have to be a doctor too, don’t give up!  Write in your spare time. 

Buy a journal (or ask for one for your birthday or Christmas!) and a pen and write at recess, or write at a friend’s house, or write in your class during free time, or at the doctor’s office when you’ve broken your pinky toe, or at the dentist when you’re waiting to get your teeth cleaned.  If you don’t find any joy in it, it’s boring, and you stop doing it after awhile, then you’ll know writing is not for you, and that’s okay!  But if you can’t stop, if while you’re writing you get lost in a different world, as if you’ve stepped from Earth to your own magical place, then for goodness sakes, keep writing! 

Q: What should I write about?
A: What SHOULDN’T you write about?  Writing is about listening and reading as much as it is about writing.  Read what other people write.  Read every book in the library, and then go to a new library and read those books too!  Write how you feel about your mom’s meatloaf, or about Mac n Cheese or hot chocolate, or your Grandmother, or a pet you lost, or a fish that passed away.  Write when you are happy and when you are sad, when you are overjoyed and even when you are bored!

Q: Do I have to write about girly stuff like rainbows and kittens?  Or only make-believe?
A: Absolutely not!  Think about all of the things you’ve ever read.  Someone had to write those things didn’t they?  You can be a sportswriter, or write nonfiction books.  You could write about history, Native Americans, the difference between bugs and mice, or write a cookbook from your grandma’s recipes.  Just write about the things that interest you.  Odds are, they’ll interest someone else too!

Q: Then what?
A: I bet your school has it’s own newspaper.  Send them an article, or a story.  I bet they have a creative writing section and maybe they’ll put your writing in it!  So you don’t have a newspaper at school?  Why not start one?  Or find someone else in your school who wants to be a publisher when they grow up, and you could start your own together!  Or if that’s a bit scary, just start smaller.  I bet just as skilled as you are at writing, there are other kids in class that are skilled at drawing.  You could create a class newspaper, and people could submit writing, artwork, or photography and you could publish that!

What magazines do you love to read?  Do they accept submissions (stories) from children?  If they do, send your favorite story in!  Did you know there is a magazine out there written for children by children?  It’s called Stone Soup.  Their website is www.stonesoup.com.  Always double check what the rules are for sending things in, and that you have the correct name and address to send it to. 

You could also enter your work in contests especially if they are in magazines you already read, because you know that other kids JUST LIKE YOU are reading them too!  Just be extra aware of companies that try to ask you to send money with your writing, or tell you that it will cost you money to send them something.  Also, if they ask for your parent’s credit card information they are probably not a good company to work with and may even be doing something illegal!

Finally, check with your librarian.  Believe it or not, they are around LOTS of books and magazines all the time!  They may have more ideas for you as well!

Good luck!

Mrs. Karen