What have I been working on the past week or so? Getting started on another branch of my writing path, that’s what.
I haven’t talked about it here, because it’s one of those I-might-jinx-it-if-I-say-it-out-loud things. Or maybe one of those once-I-put-it-in-print-I’ll-look-pretty-foolish-if-it-doesn’t-go-anywhere things. Or a goals-are-just-something-that-don’t-happen things. Yeah. One of those.
But if this blog is about the writing path, and if I’m exploring a new curve in the path, well–I’m supposed to post about it, right.
So, saying it out loud: In the next few months, I will query about and/or write several nonfiction articles for children’s magazines and get them out the door.
One of the things I really want to add to my repertoire is more nonfiction for children. I had a great time writing The Everything Kids’ Grow Up to Be a Police Officer Book with Lee Lofland, even if the economy crash did cause the publisher to pull it from the publishing list, and I’m also happy with Cool Cash Adventure, a guide to finance that I wrote for middle-grade kids. As I do more research, I’m learning lots of stuff that won’t fit into my novels, and I still want to use it–to share it. Plus, let’s face it, I want to write for kids.
So those are the main reasons for the goal, and I think they’re pretty good. Which means the next step is to do something about getting there. I’ve looked around at publishers of nonfiction books, and I’ve sent off samples that I do have to some job postings. Realistically,though, I’m pretty sure I need more samples and better ones–more targeted at the kind of writing these publishers want to see. Which means, I think, kids’ magazines.
So I’ve got a stack, and I’m collecting a few more. I’ve downloaded writers’ guidelines and editorial calendars. The last couple of days, I’ve skimmed through the magazines, looking for the types of articles I’d like to write. I’ve got a growing list of ideas with notes about which magazine they might fit best, and whether I’m supposed to query first or just send the article. The next step, I’m pretty sure, is to pick an idea and target the magazine (or two) for an article (or two). Then I find a similar article and really read it, breaking it down in terms of content, structure, and voice.
Then I write.
The challenge? It’s not really the dissecting or writing–I’m pretty good at both of those, and–if I’m honest with myself–this is something I can do and do well. The challenge is reminding myself of that, keeping up my level of confidence for something new, for venturing into a place in the writing world where they don’t know me yet, where I have to prove myself. Yes, I do this every day in my fiction, but–as you all know–that’s long-term proof. I have a heckuva lot of writing on this novel before I submit it for judgment. And the other challenge is doing it. Putting the nonfiction writing on my calendar, showing up at the computer, writing & revising, and following through on all that with actual submissions. Juggling this writing with my fiction, with my editing, with…oh, life.
Is this important to me? Yes. Is it something I will enjoy? Yes. Will this route be a good addition to my writing path, bringing a smattering of daisies and maybe a four-leaf clover or two? Yes.
So…time to get started.
What about you? Is there something you’re exploring that you haven’t yet (quite) committed to, that you’ve been skating around? Can you see the first step or two ahead of you, waiting for you to put them on your to-do list? What’s coming next for you on your writing path?