Sunday, November 4, 2012

Try Something New

It's funny to look back and see how my writing career has evolved in the past several years. I've heard writers talk about how their career "grew along with their kids" and for me, that statement couldn't be more true. I started out freelancing for magazines and websites, and most of the queries at that time related to pregnancy, babies, toddlers and early childhood. Now my kids are getting older. They are both in elementary school (when exactly did that happen)? Over time, I've developed a specialty in writing human-interest stories and profiles, as well as dabbling in fiction. I was having a conversation with my 9-year-old daughter one day, and out of the blue, it hit me that there is an entire market targeted to her age group that I haven't tapped into.
I think many parents who are also writers consider writing children's picture books, especially when we are immersed in the popular stories loved by our children. But children my daughter's age are also voracious readers, and I began thinking back over my own childhood experiences and trying to figure out what I could use for inspiration. I began checking out a few of my beloved middle-grade fiction books from the library and studying them. I started trying to reason with myself. I've written an 80,000-word novel that I'm still revising, but wouldn't it stand to reason that if I set my mind to it, I could probably come up with a 20,000-word middle-grade fiction book?
I am happy to say that along with my regular writing and editing assignments, I've started writing short stories for children and submitting them to some of the more popular children's magazines, and I'm a few chapters into a middle-grade fiction book targeted to girls my daughter's age. This is the most fun I've had writing in a long time.
My advice to any writers who are stuck in a rut is to try something new. It might be hard at first, and it may take awhile to find a different writing groove, but I promise you, it will be worth it.

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