One of the first books I read on writing for children was Jean Karl’s “How to Write and Sell Children’s Picture Books.” One of Jean’s quotes from her introduction has stuck with me all these years. I wrote it on a 3 X 5 card as I began my writing journey. It encouraged me to press on, to study hard, and to practice, practice, practice!
It’s a quote I occasionally recite when a new writer quickly becomes discouraged because his or her book or magazine story wasn’t accepted after having studied and practiced for only a few weeks or months. Here’s the quote:
“You wouldn’t expect to pick up a violin, never having played one, and appear the next day at Carnegie Hall as a soloist. Writing is not so different. It takes practice and learning. But unlike the violin, it is something you can teach yourself, with a few guides along the way—” Jean Karl
To me, that quote puts the difficult but wonderfully rewarding work of writing for children in perspective. I especially appreciate the last line, “–it is something you can teach yourself, with a few guides along the way—.”
So, for those who can’t yet “play the violin”— keep learning and practicing because there is HOPE!