Setting up a blog to document my journey as a children’s writer faces one, immediate problem: what to share. An illustrator in a similar position can share some preliminary sketches, but a synopsis of a story, or a sample couplet, scarcely does a writer justice.
I’d love to share all of my picture book texts on here, in full, so you can see the type of thing I’m writing, offer some constructive criticism along the way, and enjoy and share the stories with those you love. But there are (at least) two problems with this.
Firstly, picture books are books with pictures. (Yep, I just said that!) My texts are just texts at the moment, and do not have the pictures that I hope will be added if/when a publisher decides to publish my work. So there is an artistic reason, as such, for not sharing them here.
Secondly, and most importantly, is a boring but practical business reason – ultimately I am looking to sell these stories, and don’t want to give them away to anyone with an internet connection. (My only interest at present is in going through the traditional publishing route, although I’m not against self-publishing in the future.)
But, I do want to give people a flavour of what I write. I don’t want to blog any stories that I’ve written that I won’t be submitting because they didn’t quite work… “have a look at this, people, I don’t like it!”… and I don’t want to blog any of the adult short stories I’ve written (due to content/ themes/ recurring presence of zombies)… so that leaves me with the poems.
This isn’t the main focus of what I’m doing/ trying to do, but I do find them fun to write, and hopefully you enjoy reading them. Not all are written for children – there will be some about work and general life things too – but one thing I can’t abide is “critics poetry”, self-indulgent navel-gazing that’s written for a very specific and exclusive audience. I believe words should be used to communicate, and that simple words can be the most powerful, if used correctly. The Will Self “you’ll need a thesaurus to read this article because I’ve got such big words to use” approach is one I detest. I’m an educated man, albeit one from a working class background in Gloucester, but I have never felt the need to ram that down people’s throats. Accessibility is an art; simplicity a skill. My goal is to balance these with the telling of a good story, which is fun for both adults to read and children to share. Simple as that!
(Not all of my poems are suitable for a family audience, by the way, but this blog is only about the ones that are. Sorry. My 4 year old can read and navigate around on the internet already, so I’ve got to be careful!)
So, hope you enjoy the poems and the blogging. Would welcome any comments or feedback from fellow writers for a bit of company along the way!