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    Home Columns

    Writing A Column for Children's Writers

    Once you gain experience as a writer, you may be asked to write or teach. As the author of more than 200 children's stories appearing in magazines and anthologies, and publisher of one anthology, I'm often asked to write articles on how to do this. I've also produced a manual,"Writing for Children", which led to my teaching workshops on this topic at writers' conferences, in schools, and adult education. Eventually this writing let to my providing the column, "Writing for Children," for Sell Writing Online (SWO), by Dallas Hodder Franklin.

    How do you begin? Start writing stories, articles, and poetry for young readers. Once you've begun getting published, you start chronicling your experiences, if no more than in your journal. Write down how you started, what you did to get published, how you approached editors. Jot down your failures as well as successes because other writers can learn from both.

    Then begin compiling this information into articles or a series of columns that will help others. Approach editors of writing magazines and ezines.

    What can you write about? This will depend on what you write and teach. Use your experiences.

    Some of mine have included:

    • Finding Ideas
    • Writing Novels from Your Family History
    • Writing an Ancestor's Biography
    • Writing Query Letters
    • Writing Non-Fiction Book Proposals
    • Incorporating Your Travels into Your Writing
    • Writing for Children's Magazines
    • Self-Publishing
    • Producing a Coloring Book
    • Promoting Your Writing
    • Conquering Rejections
    • When You Feel Like Giving Up
    • Getting Ideas From Your Family
    • Writing About Animals
    • Writing for Family & Parenting Magazines
    • Successful School Visits

    Interviews. You also can write interesting columns by conducting interviews of children's writers and illustrators. They usually will agree to be interviewed and share their experiences and advice to aid your column readers.

    The interviews also can include editors, publishers, and agents. Find out what they're looking for. See what advice they have to offer children's writers.

    Writer's block exercises. Provide exercises and ideas that will get writers started when they don't know what to write about or when they've reached a block in their own writing project. One writer publishes an ezine that gives ideas to stimulate one's writing, no matter what they write.

    You can do this with a column, touching upon different topics, seasons of the year, holidays, various countries, historical persons and events. By providing some information, often little known data, you can help writers stimulate their thinking.

    Ideas for settings. Write about areas you visit, the area where you live, and historical settings to give your readers insight about places where they can set their stories and non-fiction articles. Then provide links where they can find more details.

    Included in these columns would be tips on story settings and how to incorporate them into your work without it being boring.

    Once you begin writing a column for children's writers or any type of writing column, you'll find yourself listening for ideas, writers to interview, and workshops to tell about. In the process, you'll find yourself learning more and becoming a better writer.

    Copyright © 2003 Mary Emma Allen

    Mary Emma Allen writes many types of columns for print and online publications. She enjoys sharing her knowledge to encourage other writers. Visit her Web site at Her e-mail:

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

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    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


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