Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Transitions


When I started writing seriously, I thought of myself as a short story writer and sometime poetess. I belonged to writing groups that mostly critiqued short stories and flash fictions, and I even got some of my work published. I was still teaching at the time, so many of my stories, for obvious reasons, took place in summer settings -- a lot of hot August afternoons and warm July mornings. Then I took a year's sabbatical to see if I really did want to retire early in order to write. Ah, it was wonderful to have a whole year in which to write! For one thing, at last a story could take place in, say, February or October.

I was still writing for adults, but two things had happened: The classroom doesn't disappear that easily. I really loved teaching, and my favorite grade was sixth grade. Those eleven-year-olds' perspectives had seeped into my psyche. Instead of the family saga novel I had envisioned, young protagonists dealing with tween problems swam to the surface, and those flash fictions had left me with a desire to try picture books.

I did take the early retirement after a year's return to the classroom. But my writing goals had changed. I wanted to write for children, and that's what I've been doing ever since.

Meanwhile, you really can't take the classroom out of a teacher's heart. I still teach an after school art class, and I love it. It enriches my life, and it enriches my writing. My students are ages 7 through 12, and they love to read as well as do art. They recommend good books for me to read, and they share what they like about them. What more could I ask for? (Well, um..., I would like an agent....)

What about you? Do you write in more than one genre? Have your writing interests shifted since you first began?

10 comments:

Jackee said...

What a beautiful story about your path! Like you, I can't let go of kid's books so it only makes sense that that is what I write. My inner child and the children around me inspire me.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog so that I could find your great one here. Cheers!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Hi, Jackee, Thanks for following me. Glad you liked the post. Isn't writing wonderful!

Richard said...

I've been pretty consistent in what I write for most of my life. The difficulty for me has been shifting from literary to more commercial fiction (or, at least, trying to).

Carrie said...

I write for children and young adults because those books have always been my favorite books to read. Maybe if my inner reader ever grows up I will switch, but at this point I doubt that will happen!

Rosi said...

I, too, started my writing with adult short stories. Mine mostly happened in winter -- death and dying, you know. Dark stuff. I even had one story chosen for inclusion in an anthology, but it never came to fruition. Now I write for children of all ages -- pre-school to YA. Teaching certainly contributed to that decision. My adult writing was pre-teaching career. It is a journey and there's no map. I'd like an agent too. It will come in time. I'm grateful for my wonderful critique groups and you are one of the best in those groups.

Kenda said...

I've written short stories for children, a few inspirational pieces, and some articles. But I've discovered my love is MG books--and picture books. Oh, how I'd love to have a picture book published! I've certainly shared enough of them with my children, grandchildren and others. Maybe someday...

Love that you are still teaching children--they are after all our greatest inspirations!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Richard, you are so right about the difference between literary and commercial. It's a different mindset. Good luck!

Carrie, I, too, doubt my inner child will grow up. In fact, I'm sure I was older when I was younger! :-)

Thanks for the kind words, Rosi -- Let us all forge on and write on!

Kenda, I agree that the children are who inspire us. Good luck with your MGs & picture books.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Even I started my writing career, by writing short stories for children. Initially I felt that I just could not cope with longer manuscripts. But now I feel pretty comfortable with long stories. I would like to try my hand at YA.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Ah, that's a genre I haven't tried yet. Do you have any particular YA ideas yet? Keep us posted, Rachna

Stacy Henrie said...

What a wealth of knowledge you have into the psyche of tweens and teens. Everyone in my crit group, but me, writes YA. :) I've had an idea or two in a different genre than what I write, but so far, I'm sticking with the one I love most - historical romances!