Write every day. You don't have to write about anything specific, but you should exercise your writing muscle constantly.
My beloved husband goes through radiation, and a book of sonnets is my passionate response. And then after he dies, I write another book of poems as a farewell. The two keywords here are passion and joy. I simply have a passion for writing, and I do it with joy.
When you realize my best selling books are 'Owl Moon,' the 'How Do Dinosaur' books, and 'Devil's Arithmetic,' how can the public make sense of that! I have fans who think I only write picture books or only write SF and fantasy. I have fanatics of my poetry and are stunned to find out I write prose, too!
In college, I wrote newspaper articles and songs. Then, on my 21st birthday, I sold my first book. It was a nonfiction book about women pirates - 'Pirates in Petticoats.' After that, I was a book writer for good.
Read something of interest every day - something of interest to you, not to your teacher or your best friend or your minister/rabbi/priest. Comics count. So does poetry. So do editorials in your school newspaper. Or a biography of a rock star. Or an instructional manual. Or the Bible.
If you give up at the first rejection or the first bad review, you will never make it in publishing.
Myths are stories that explain a natural phenomenon. Before humans found scientific explanations for such things as the moon and the sun and rainbows, they tried to understand them by telling stories.
I began as a journalist for my pocketbook and a poet for my soul.
I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told.
I read everything aloud, novels as well as picture books. I believe the eye and ear are different listeners. So as writers, we have to please both.
I think picture books should stretch children. I think they should be full of wonderful, amazing words.
Why am I working so hard? Going for 400 books, perhaps, but who's really counting?
Don't ever write just for a trend or fad, because it's a moving target, and by the time you get your work out there, the trend or fad is gone. Dig deep; don't be afraid to write fiercely. Expose your heart.
Don't let anyone discourage you from writing. If you become a professional writer, there are plenty of editors, reviewers, critics, and book buyers to do that.
I write to satisfy the story or poem or piece of fascinating research that speaks to me. To rub a sore, to resonate with joy, to answer a question no one else has satisfactorily answered for me.
If a parent wants to talk about slavery or wants to talk about countries where bombs go off, they need to have a way - a setting - to have that conversation. And there are wonderful books out there for those kinds of conversations.
It seems like I've been writing since birth! I started writing poems before I got to school. I wrote the class musical in first grade - both words and music. It was about a bunch of vegetables who got together in a salad. I played the chief carrot!
My youngest son becomes an award-winning nature photographer, and I cannot resist writing poems to his pictures. My daughter loves to cook, though I do not. Yet together, we write a cookbook with fairy tales. And now a second.
While I was in junior high, I wrote an entire essay in rhyme about manufacturing in New York State. In high school, I won a Scholastic poetry contest.