Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Why?

Has anyone ever asked you "why?"

Well, just last week, while discussing a manuscript with someone, I was asked.  "Why do you want to write Picture Books and be published?"

Of course, many of us could answer with "I have stories that need to be told", "I want to make kids happy", "I wanna make people laugh", etc  But have you ever TRULY thought about why being published means something to you?

Let's face it, even if we wanted it to, this is not about becoming rich and famous.  :)

It got me thinking.  What is it about life after first publication that excites me? 

Before I even knew what kind of books I wanted to write, I have had the fantasy of opening "the box" and seeing several copies of a book with my name on it.  I have also had a recurring fantasy about having a book launch and signing at Books of Wonder here in NYC.  But both of those are just moments and don't quite answer the question.

What is it about the life of the author that I want to lead? 

Here are just a few of my "author fantasies":
  • School and Library visits
    • As a former teacher I would LOVE to be able to go back into the classroom as the Guest Speaker and spend time with the kids.
  • Special Events
    • I am a people person, so manning a table full of my books to sell and be signed sounds divine!  Princeton Book Festival here I come...some day...
  • Workshop Presenter at conferences.
  • Writing Instructor
    • Again, I miss my teaching days and would LOVE to be able to teach writing at Gotham Writers Workshop or the equivalent.  In fact, Gotham does not have a class that is solely Picture Book.  They lump all Children's Writing (PB, MG, YA) into one class.  But I would love to change that once I am published.
What is it about the "published author" life that excites you?  How do you see yourself after publication?


  1. i think for me it was when i first started doing readings and school visits. the interaction. the utter imagination and (let's face it) AWESOME things that kids say to you. (EX. Any questions? Little boy raises hand: Once time - at Halloween - my cousin was a tree!) My book was neither about Halloween or trees...and best of all the notes that the kids send you. Thanking you. Wanting to tell you how they are going to write/draw/make books too - or that they already have and would you like to see them? nothing like it. xo

  2. I agree with everything katyeh said above, and with your reasons, Marcie. I also think, for me, there's something very special about picture books - maybe it's the sharing. More than any other level of books, picture books are designed to be shared between an adult and a child, which recalls, for me, lots of very lovely moments in my life both as a child and with my children. I want to write stories that children and their adults can share like that :)

  3. Well, you got me thinking! Nice list to ponder.

    I see myself enjoying the school visits the most. I taught school for 26 years and so I feel at home in that setting.

  4. Great question. I'm going to have to include this in my weekly writing reflection. But in nutshell I would say the excitement and the freedom. The excitement of school visits, book signings, seeing the book in print, writing the book etc. The freedom to have a career you love. To make your own hours. To be your own boss (sure you have to answer to your agent/editor etc. but at the end of the day it's up to you to produce).

    1. Marcie, your question(s) have me really thinking about my future career.

      I would also love to teach some sort of online course or hold a writers retreat once or twice a year for adults then a handful of workshops working with teen writers. There is also the possibility to do writers in residence where I get to help other writers (I'm not sure if that is something that is being done in the US?)

  5. I hadn't pondered this much. I just like the idea of sharing my stories and having the freedom to write more often. But I like your list. Can I adopt it, too? (Except the last one, you are free to teach your own class at Gotham Writers.) :)

  6. Nice list! I think part of it, for me, is seeing my stories brought to life visually. I like thinking visually, but don't have the training to illustrate my own stories -- but I love the idea of seeing them that way.

  7. Great question, Marcie, and some awesome answers, from both you & those commenting. As I'm not a people person, the signings & talks seem terrifying. Like Susanna, I think back to the days reading, and rereading, and rereading again those favourite picture books with my children. I also hope that I can write something that will cause some child, somewhere, to become a reader her/himself & allow more children to share a bond over a book with their special adults. And the fact that all I need is something to write with (generally the laptop, but the smart phone has been known to pinch-hit) and the ideas swirling in my head, makes it that much more appealing. To top it off, in what other career could I have two dogs by my side who don't grimace too much when I read it aloud, one more time...