Friday, July 17, 2009

Writing and Carnegie Hall

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!


Clementine said...

Great post! I needed that.

Janet said...

Wonderful advice. This morning our preacher spoke about not giving up and to not let anything hold you back. Well, I know he wasn't talking about a writing career, but I have that attitude about writing, I believe that if I don't give up that anything is possible.