Something new and a bit different
I’ve just done an online writing course.
As you do while caught up in a global pandemic!
It’s something I’ve often thought about doing!
And I write my blog of course, that’s writing too, but of a different kind.
Funny story: I rang and told a relative I was going to do a writing course and her reaction was to say, ‘but you already know how to write.’ I love her blind faith in me!
About the course
Writing Children’s Picture Books with Australian Writers’ Centre
So with not much else happening in my life (insert sarcasm here) I decided to jump in boots and all. The course was over 5 weeks with a new module released every Monday, made up of notes, audio clips and videos.
And there was a weekly assignment due each Sunday night.
I was excited to be starting something different and the focus it would require. But I also doubted myself and this continued throughout the course.
Here’s the course guide in case you’re interested: Writing Children’s Picture Books
My thoughts on the course
I really enjoyed it! At times you might not have thought so but that was stress and self doubt talking.
The information was interesting, relevant and at times overwhelming. It was all new to me and exciting to be learning again.
You know the buzz you get when you push yourself out of your comfort zone – it was like that.
I learnt that I didn’t know much at all – about writing children’s books, about the industry, the process, the publishing side of things, the pitch, the blurb – all of it was new to me and I soaked it up like a sponge.
The assignments were hard. I put a lot of pressure on myself at the best of times, and as mentioned above, my self doubt was running high!
I used my sister as a sounding board and her experience and knowledge were excellent but also hard for me to hear at times. That says more about me than my sister believe me!
I talked to friends who had been librarians in a former life, I sent my words to my daughters and other writing friends – I think I wanted my words to be perfect before submitting them but of course I was there to learn and the only way I could do that was to submit my work and wait for the feedback.
I settled down after the first few weeks and got into a groove.
It was also hard in that we had to write a story using the information we’d been learning about and make it fit the criteria. I felt pressured to be creative and to think outside the square, but I kept going with it.
One assignment was re-writing a part of a book changing a few key elements. I enjoyed this activity and the feedback was positive.
The next few assignments were writing stories from different perspectives, using characterisation, then editing our words to make the story stronger.
We also had to write an elevator pitch and a book blurb for our story. My pitch was a bit weak but my blurb was quite strong.
My back of book blurb:
Millie Moo’s Granny is always fun. She plays blocks and trains and reads Millie Moo lots of stories. One day Granny brings a surprise visitor. She’s old and wrinkly and Millie Moo doesn’t want to hug her. She is scared. Who is the strange lady?
I learnt a lot! The main take away was ‘Show don’t tell’ and this proved far more difficult than I could ever have imagined.
Would I do it again?
Yes I would and I am already looking at the other courses the AWC offers – there are a few courses for bloggers on offer!
I’m grateful for my support team and especially my sister for sharing her expertise with me.
I don’t think I’m going to set the world on fire with my children’s books but my grandchildren might appreciate my efforts in coming years and that will be enough of a buzz for me.
I highly recommend the course, the structure, presentations, content and feedback were all great.
Millie Moo and the Strange Lady
My name is Millie Moo.
Mummy whispers a secret to me.
Granny is coming to visit with a big surprise!
My tummy does a happy dance.
Granny always plays with me and reads me stories.
What will the surprise be?
I love surprises.
A new book, crayons or maybe a puppy?
I spin around and around and around.
‘Be careful Millie Moo’ says mummy.
Spinning faster and faster, everything goes blurry.
Giggles bubble out. My tummy does flips.
Here comes Granny, up the steps and I’m in her arms.
Granny crushes me to her. She’s all soft and smells yummy.
I wrap my arms around her and nuzzle into her neck.
But not for too long, I’m not a baby anymore you know.
‘Come on’ I say pulling Granny away, ‘let’s play blocks.’
But wait, who is that?
Someone is with her.
My tummy is all flippoty, floppety. I hide behind mummy’s legs.
I peek out at the strange lady. Who is she?
She’s smiling at me with her arms out.
Granny pushes me towards the old lady.
She tells me to give Great-Granny a hug.
‘No’, I say, ‘I don’t want to hug her!’
I don’t look at the old lady.
Up, up, up. The blocks go higher and higher.
As tall as me now!
Whoop, whoop, whoop.
I’m the champion!
I sneak a look at the lady’s face.
She grins and claps.
Zoom, zoom, zoom. The train rushes around the track.
I push the red engine and Granny has the blue one.
Squealing, we tangle up together.
Granny makes a noise like a donkey. I laugh at her laughing like a donkey.
The strange lady starts to giggle too.
‘Come on Millie Moo, time for a bath’, says mummy.
Squirt go the bath toys. Bubbles explode.
Splish, splosh. I splash mummy and daddy.
The strange lady watches me and laughs.
She looks happy when she laughs.
Maybe she’s not that scary.
Yawning, I ask Granny to read me a story.
We snuggle together on the lounge.
Granny makes all the right sounds as she reads.
‘It’s time for bed now Millie Moo’ says mummy.
One more story first, please?
I kiss Granny goodnight.
I peek at the strange lady. Her face is all wrinkly.
I decide to give her a hug and a kiss.
She smiles and kisses me.
Sleep tight Millie Moo.
This is one of the versions of my final story – yes I had a few different versions rattling around!
I wrote this because it actually happened with my granddaughter when my mother, her Great-Grandmother, came to visit.
So that was my writing course. Have you ever done a course like this?
Despite my advancing age and the number of years since doing any study, this was a good way to learn new skills and, as you know, you’re never too old to learn new things!
I’m grateful for everything I have learnt and to all those who have helped me. I’m grateful for the fact that I’m in a position financially and with time, to be able to do something like this. I’m grateful to my sister for pushing me along.
I just wish I could banish those niggling feelings of self doubt! Any suggestions?
Linking up to Denyse’s #lifethisweek with the prompt of Grateful for this
Debbie is an award winning blogger and lives in the small town of Tumbarumba in NSW Australia. Married for 40 years, with three grown up daughters, Debbie and the Mathematician are avid travellers, cyclists and adventurers. Described by others as a ‘hummingbird on speed’ this active mother and grandmother has also received a bravery award from the Queen.
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