In theory, anyone – you do not need any special education or qualifications to write for children. However, you will need to have certain qualities to make it as a children’s writer. First, and most importantly, you need to like children and want to write for them. If you like children and children’s books you are probably going to be much more familiar with what children like and already read. This will, in turn, make it easier and more pleasurable for you to come up with great ideas of your own. You’ll also find it far easier to sit down and write something if you are passionate about it.
There’s really no point thinking you’ll write for children because you hope to earn huge amounts of money from it or you want to be as famous as JK Rowling. Of course that may happen, but it should not be your prime objective.
Secondly, you need to be able to understand children; how they think and what interests them. This can be easier if you have regular contact with children – do you see your nephews and nieces? Do you have children of your own or do you work where you are in contact with children on a daily basis? Having regular access to children is the ideal way of trying out your ideas – they’ll soon let you know if they think it’s boring.
Next, you need to know what the competition is and that means reading modern children’s books to see what other people are writing for children and what publishers are accepting. It’s a good idea to note down your favourite children’s titles as the ones you like will probably form the basis of what style of children’s writing you want to do.
Next it’s time to think about what kinds of children’s books you want to write – educational, fantasy, science fiction, comedy, horror – and what age you want to write for. You could write picture books for the very young or story books for 6-7 year olds, or maybe you want to write novels for teenagers.
And, last but not least, you should consider whether you want to write as a full or part-time job or as a hobby. This will, of course, have a bearing on how much time and effort you put into your children’s writing. So, as you can see, there are plenty of things you need to think about when considering becoming a children’s writer. See what tutor and published children’s author Stephanie Baudet has to say in her video writing picture books for children. And if you fancy having a go at writing a children’s book request our Writing For Children course prospectus.
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"I always felt that I wanted to be a writer and write stories for children and novels for young adults. It was then that I did an enormous amount of internet research and discovered The Writers Bureau Writing for Children course. In eight months, I had two books under publication!"