Tag: writing for children and teens

Do You Write in a Bubble?

Are you familiar with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) syndrome? It’s a genetic illness that strips people of their immune system. They’re vulnerable to infectious diseases that aren’t a problem for most of the general population. As a result, those who suffer from SCID must live in a bubble—a sterile environment with filtered air. They can’t have physical contact with other people without protective gear.

Living in a bubble may be necessary to prolong life for those suffering with SCID, but it can mean literary death for a writer. To be effective writers, we must know not only who our audience is, but also their frame of reference. We need to understand their world.

While this is true no matter whom we write for, it’s especially important when writing for children and teens. All too often, we draw on our own childhood experiences, but those experiences may no longer be applicable to our audience. Our culture is changing faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth. Did you catch that last pop culture reference? While it might evoke a familiar image for baby boomers, it’s irrelevant to most young people. Payphones are almost nonexistent in the United States today. Even if you can find a payphone, they’re hardly ever enclosed in booths anymore.

Or consider the world of social media. Most writers consider themselves fairly up-to-date if they have Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts. But did you know that tweens and teens have moved to social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat?

For more information about the mindset of young people today, check out the Beloit College Mindset list. Every August, Beloit College updates the list for the new class of incoming college freshmen. Even if you’re writing for a younger audience, it will help give you a sense of the world of our tweens and teens.

Then there’s the issue of Common Core. Regardless of your opinion of Common Core educational standards, are you familiar with what they are? These standards affect more than the classroom. Many secular and Christian publishers are evaluating new titles as well as their backlists in light of Common Core standards. But other Christian publishers don’t intend to apply Common Core to their releases. As writers, it’s up to us to know the publisher’s position before we submit our work.

Don’t write in a bubble. Learn the context in which your audience thrives. Understand their frame of reference as well as the current events that affect them. Then write the words God has placed on your heart to speak to a generation that needs Him more than ever.

 ***

© 2010 Martin Alan Grivjack Photography
Martin Alan Grivjack Photography

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at AvaWrites.com.

Finding the Elusive Balance

One of the things I hear a lot of writers talk about is the balance between family life and career. In the countless interviews I’ve given through the years, the question of how I juggle the needs of my family with the demands of my writing career often comes up. Balance seems elusive. Parents can carry around a lot of guilt—especially if the kids claim that your “job” is more important than they are.

I’m still carving out my right balance. Recently, I was asked to think about what my perfect day would look like. That sure got the gears turning. Here’s what I would like to see Monday through Friday:

5:45 a.m.—Prayer

6:00—Workout

6:30—Get ready for the day

7:00—Drive kids to school

7:30—Breakfast

7:45—Read and respond to emails

8:00—Write for an hour

9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.—Real-estate appointments

2:15—Pick up the girls from the bus stop

2:30 to 5:00—Household chores

5:00—Make lunches for tomorrow

5:30—Make supper

6:30 to 9:00—Family time

9:30—Reading time

10:00—Bedtime

As of right now, my days rarely look like this. Writing this out and posting it in my office, however, shows what I’m striving for. Just like I have health and fitness goals and post workouts and recipes online to keep me focused on those goals, having this list staring me in the face each morning motivates me to find that balance. There might be days that everything doesn’t fall into place. The unexpected can happen at any time. But having a plan and doing your best to stick to it certainly gets you farther than leaving it all up to chance.

Do you struggle with finding the right balance between your family life and writing career? What would your perfect day look like? Would writing out your perfect day and posting it in your writing space be helpful? What tips can you share for finding that balance?

 

Connect with us….

There was a day, when to connect with someone, you sent them a letter. Or if you had the resources, you picked up the phone and gave them a call. And if they were really special you went to their street address, their house, to see them in person.

One thing shared by all these ways to connect was an address. In those days, if you had a phone, it was a land line. Your number was connected to your name, and in the phone book, your street address was listed too. Letters were delivered to a street address or a post office box.  Visits were personal, often at the home of your friend or acquaintance.

 

ADDRESSES.

We want to make sure you know all our addresses…………….    If you are reading this, you probably know about the website www.write2ignite.com.

If you are reading this in your email, then you have subscribed to our blog. Did you know once it comes to your email, clicking on the title will take you to the rest of the article, back on the website? No judgement if that’s news to you, I stumbled on that bit of information accidentally.

If you aren’t already getting the blog in your email and want to, you can  sign up for it on the blog. Look for the words “Subscribe for Blog Updates” near the top of the right side bar. Type your email address in the window directly below that heading and click on the “subscribe” button.

W2I has email:

Info.write2ignite@gmail.com

We have a Facebook fan page:

https://www.facebook.com/Write2IgniteConference/

To catch our fan page in your newsfeed you need to “like” us. Click the thumbs up  in the banner at the top of the page.  Because of the way Facebook shows fan pages, you may not see us much, even though we try to post 3-9 posts weekly.  Of course, you can always stop by the page and view what we’ve shared.

You can choose to receive a Facebook notice in your email every time we post – just click the like button and choose the appropriate item from that drop down menu. You can also use our Facebook fan page as a shortcut to find the blog – just click on the sign-up button in the banner – and from there you can subscribe to get the blog posts in your email as mentioned above.

We have a facebook group:  

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Write2Ignite/

This group was set up to give people who participate in Write2Ignite! activities (conference, day apart retreat, or any future W2I activities) an opportunity to continue to network around the calendar.

We are on twitter:

https://twitter.com/WriteTOignite

And occasionally we send out newsletters through email using Mailchimp or other similar  service to send a SPARK of information your way- only if you’ve already given permission to be included in such emails.

Of course to see us in person, you can come to the Conference on April 1st and 2nd, 2016 at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.

Registration is currently open. Just click the “Register” button on the top of THIS banner. We look forward to connecting with you real soon.

Resources for Writing for Children

Children's Writer's Word BookIt is just a few more days until 2016. The New Year always brings a list of resolutions and goals. If you are reading this, writing for children or teens is likely on your list.

How do children’s writers know that they are successfully penning words that will resonate with young readers? Certainly they must connect with the tone and heart of the writing. There are also resources that can help the write get on the right track. Here are two things to consider when polishing your writing for children and teens.

I encourage you to invest in some books that will be ready resources for child-leveled word choices.

Books that Guide in Word Choice

  1. The Children’s Writer’s Word Book
  2. A children’s thesaurus
  3. A children’s dictionary

Very often, writers assume that they have an inside connection to what children and teens like. If that is based on contact with children in just one setting, the perception may be stilted. Consider getting to know young readers in a variety of settings and continue to seek new points of contact. The same child will have very different conversations and interests in different settings.

Time with the Readers Themselves

  1. Neighborhood
  2. Family
  3. School
  4. Church
  5. Social settings

What about you? What resources have you found helpful when writing for children and teens?

I pray many blessings on your writing in the New Year. It is an awesome privilege to Write2Ignite young readers.

Carol

Carol is the author of two preteen devotionals from Zonderkidz.

Dare U 2 Open This Book Cover    Just Sayin' Cover

 

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