Elephants and Writing for Kids

I have a pet elephant.

It all started out with a dream. I’ve always wanted a pet elephant. I dreamed about the days I could take my grandkids for a ride! I looked forward to taking the neighborhood kids for a ramble down the street on its back. I imagined summer days with water squirting, peanuts to feed, and so…much…fun!

I have a pet elephant.

It’s on loan actually. After years of longing for an elephant of my own, I finally called our local zoo. It took a lot of convincing…okay…years of convincing and red tape and pages of papers to fill out. But finally…finally! My dream came true. The zoo agreed to give me an elephant for three months to have as my very own pet.

Sounds like a story, right? Well, actually…yes…it is. A story. A story that I have to write. A story with a deadline.

And it feels like I have an elephant in the room.

A KidLit Writer’s Life

What was I thinking when I connected with a publisher about writing a new book and they asked for a one-month deadline and I asked for a three-month deadline and they agreed…gulp! It’s a HUGE project that probably should be taking a year at the least to write.

And just like a pet elephant would, it’s consuming my life.

I mean, what would YOU do with a pet elephant in your house for three months?! Feeding it. Brushing its teeth, I mean, tusks. CLEANING UP AFTER IT?!

Trying to find ideas to keep it busy so the readers, I mean the elephant, won’t get bored. Rearranging my schedule to fit its schedule. Moving everything else out of the way so it can fit inside the house. Okay. Actually, it really doesn’t fit even outside in our small yard. I’m just sayin’.

And then there’s the night shift. Do you know what it’s like to be woken up out of a sound sleep with the tip of the elephant’s trunk tap, tap, tapping on your nose? It wants another peanut. It’s scared. It has an idea for a game it can play with the grandkids.

So I have to get up in the middle of the night, sneak down the hall so I don’t wake anyone else, switch on the light in my office, and jot down the idea so I don’t forget it when I get back to work on my story in the morning. Sigh. Know what I mean?

Having Fun as a Writer

That’s the reality of being a writer. It’s like having a pet elephant in more ways than I even want to discuss.

So, in the end, what am I doing to survive?

I’m trying to have fun. Yes, some days I’m at my computer from the moment I wake up and still plinking out content just minutes before I hit my pillow at night. But in all the moments in between with research and writing and editing and rewriting and note-taking and writing, I’m trying to capture those fun, delightful, once-in-a-lifetime moments that are the reason I wanted to write this book in the first place…for fun!

I’m reading snippets of fun books in my genre to gain inspiration and motivation and voice.

I’m enjoying the relationship I’m building with my editor as we work out some of the kinks and details along the way.

I’m imagining the delight and impact of little children reading my book.

Boring research notes painstakingly typed into the computer? No way! I’m crafting personal research journals with super-fun scrapbook paper, delightful stickers, and favorite quotes and prayers to inspire me along my journey.

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But back to how I got this elephant in the first place.

Let’s see…did I mention the red tape and pages of papers to fill out before the zoo would let me borrow an elephant for my very own? Did I mention the convincing I had to do?

As writers, it’s just the same. Before we ever get our manuscript published, we have to convince the publisher or the agent or the editor that this is going to be a winner.

And that’s where Write2Ignite comes in.

We’re hosting a virtual online one day writer’s conference to learn how to write winning queries and proposals and hooks that will do all the convincing for us!

So mark your calendars for April 22, 2023. And sign up to join. You won’t want to miss this amazing opportunity for Christian children’s writers.

CLICK HERE to find out more.

After all, don’t you want to have an elephant for a pet, too?! Or maybe you’d rather have a giraffe or hippo or…? In the comments below, share with us what pet…I mean published book… YOU’VE been dreaming about having. It’s fun!

-Nancy I. Sanders is the children’s author of over 100 books including the how-to book for writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published and Build a Successful Writing Career. Visit her website at www.nancyisanders.com.


First 3 elephant images by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Image by Gerhard from Pixabay

9 thoughts on “Elephants and Writing for Kids

  1. Nancy, what a great hook for the conference. It made me want to head for my computer and write about pileated woodpeckers. Been tossing that thought around for awhile.

  2. Maybe you should add a juggler to your elephant’s back. That’s how I feel sometimes when I have to juggle my writing schedule with my other projects. Thanks for the great visual, Nancy. I look forward to reading the final version.

  3. I was chuckling all the way through this, Nancy! What a fun way to describe how our writing projects can take over every part of our house and life. But you’ve found the best part of those elephants–the fun of researching, writing and finding just the right peanut, err . . .word. I’ll be praying your work on this elephant goes well!

  4. I loved this fun post you found time to craft while trying to housetrain an elephant. I’m really hoping it’s not all metaphorical because a story about an elephant that wakes up a grandma in the night sounds like one I’d like to read! 🙂
    As far as a book I’ve always wanted to write–that would be a children’s book about the odd assortment of gifts our presidents have received. I’ve researched and collected notes, but pulling it together has been challenging. Perhaps I have an elusive pet chameleon.

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