So…it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. That’s because I’ve been bogged…down…with…moving and settling in. I’ve just begun to feel a bit settled, although maybe the sunshine filling the valley this morning has perked me up. The hills outside my window are spotlit with morning sun. Clouds hang low, tickling the ridges awake. The puddle on my balcony is shrinking and maybe someday soon I can actually sit outside of a morning and write!
Meanwhile, in the new job, I’ve been learning a new kind of writing. I feel a lot like you guys must feel as I get draft after draft back from my new boss with question marks and comments. Not funny. Done it already. And the occasional Funny! that makes me hope next time there will be fewer edits. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever make the Uncle John’s voice a part of my writing DNA.
Learning to write in someone else’s style is the opposite of what I invite writers to do at Finding Your Voice. During that workshop, I’m guiding everyone toward opening themselves to what is unique within them. Writing in someone else’s voice feels like trying to put on a pair of shoes that don’t really fit. They’re made of leather, so they’ll stretch a bit to let your foot in, but you’ll never feel as if you’re barefoot in the cool green grass. Finding your natural voice is sole-to-grass wonderful. You stretch your toes and think, “Hey! This writing session made me feel like a kid again. I was finally able to forget all that adult stuff that gets in my way.”
I think most writers feel free when they’re first starting out, but begin to feel the pinch when they realize this writing for kids gig isn’t as simple as it looks from the outside. Writing for kids isn’t kid stuff—it’s hard work. But when it hums, it’s as magical as finding the plastic Easter egg with the five dollar bill in it. There’s only one thing I know of that can take you from tight to limber—stretching those writing muscles my writing a lot. Every day if you can!
I think we should all get the prize egg today. The secret, of course, is to be out there searching for it. So hop up, my bunnies…take off your shoes, stretch your toes, and do some gut-tingling writing.
(Oh, and here’s a news flash from Uncle John: The Easter bunny was arrested at the Philadelphia airport, for cracking a confetti-filled egg over a TSA agent’s head. I kid you not! Those guys have no sense of humor.)