Surrender

When asked if they have any regrets, some wise people will say that they do not. All of their experiences have made them who they are.

Our experiences, good or bad, influence us as people. As writers, our experiences can also shape the characters, settings, themes, and mood of our stories.

Specifically as children’s writers, we draw from many places. A memory of a warm, loving childhood. Or a not so great one. A book we read. A movie we loved (or hated). A place we visited full of rich culture and surroundings. We may have even observed a child, doing or saying something innocent, loving, heartbreaking, or brave.

I have recently been reading Awakened by the Moon, the biography of Margaret Wise Brown by Leonard S. Marcus. Brown is best known as the author of the timeless Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. In addition to observing the children that she worked with, Margaret believed that “memory {was} the ultimate source of her creative work.” She said that, “as you write, memory will come out in its true form.”

Everything informs our memories, whether we know it or not.

Material for our stories can come from an infinite number of places. You need only open yourself to it. Surrender. Let the memories wash over you. Truly open your eyes, heart, and mind, and see what comes.

You may find that the laugh and broad smile of an old friend makes its way into one of your stories. You may set a story on an unspoiled beach where you once stood as your cousin got married. You may remember some advice you once gave, and try to find a way to give better advice in your written world.

“Write what you know,” has been said to writers for many years. If we are brave enough, we may realize we know more than we think we do.

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