Throwback to that time I wrote a children’s book

Thinking about audience from a writer’s perspective is something I never really did before college. That sounds bad, I know. But almost everything I wrote was either only for my teacher or only for myself, so I never really had to confront those fears of writing for other people. That is, until my freshman year of college. I was lucky enough to take an amazing class about children’s literature where all the students wrote their own children’s book by the end of the semester! We spent the first half of the semester learning about famous books and authors, and it seemed easy peasy lemon squeezy- until it was time to write my own. I found myself hung up on one specific point: the audience. Okay, I know it seems obvious- the audience is children. But there is so much more than that. What age group? Because, depending on the age group, there are different techniques you will need to incorporate into your writing to accommodate your audience. When I sat down to storyboard, I found myself wondering how this vague audience of kids would handle my mature topic of choice. The most difficult moment, however, was actually writing the text. This was a picture book, so I knew I had some art to lean on, but I was literally terrified to start writing the story since it would require me to face my fears: not only who my audience was, but how to connect with them. I found myself stumped at how to adjust my tone, writing style, and details to fit this complex concept into a short story book for kids. Looking back, if I had just let loose and written something from a kid’s perspective, rather than trying to examine my audience as a completely separate and confusing entity, it would’ve been an easier process. I ended up writing something that I loved once I tried to see things through a kid’s perspective, and I was able to find a way to transform my original idea of the story into a realistic, fun, and still authentic version for the final piece. This requirement of having to find a way to connect to your audience was quite demanding, as I was trying to find common ground with a group quite different from me, but I let it help and guide me in my work rather than isolate me further. Moving forward, I try to incorporate this freedom and exploration into all of my work while understanding what I have to bring to the table as a writer and where I can improve in connecting with others.

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