March Madness Check In Day 23--Your Inner Child

First let's start off with today's winner!

Pat Edsen

Go to this post to pick your prize (You have the choice of any of the remaining ones)

And then email Denise your choice at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com and she'll get it to you.

Today I'll be taking a prompt from the book A YEAR OF WRITING DANGEROUSLY by Barbara Abercrombie

59. What Writers Can Learn from Six-Year-Olds

There's something about the above picture that reminds me of the joy of being a child. Remember getting on a swing and being able to lift up high? Remember how freeing that sensation was?

I'm a former first grade teacher and I used to marvel at my students. They had tons of energy, weren't afraid to use emotions, and when they loved something? They'd be very focused on it. I can say the same of my 11 year old.

So here's some things we can learn from six-year-olds with our own writing:

Creativity. Most of my students weren't afraid to try something. They loved to get down and dirty especially with painting or other forms of media. Don't be afraid to try something new.

Energy. Omigosh, I used to tell people if I could bottle the energy of a six year old, I'd be a billionaire! With our writing we need to use our energy and not be afraid to be silly sometimes. Or break into a dance.

Emotion and Passion. You can't write about emotions unless you're in touch with your feeling...Barbara Abercrombie.

Very true. Also one reference book I use to help dig deeper in my writing is EMOTION THESAURUS. I highly recommend this ebook!

Focus. Watch a child doing something they love be it painting, writing, or in my son's case Legos, and see how focused they can be.
Concentrate on what you love and ignore those naysayers that tell you otherwise!

Curiosity. Most children are very curious and not afraid to ask questions. My one motto is "Question Everything." Don't be afraid to question.

My question for today is what can you learn from a six-year-old or any child? And how can you apply that to your own writing!

Don't forget to check in tomorrow with Kelsey Macke at


Oh the art thing is so true. I watch my students who want to be "real" artists get so paralyzed, while those who aren't afraid to goof, make miraculous things.

It's hard to remember to let go. Thanks for the reminder!

And congrats Patty!
Jennifer said…
I was just thinking about this the other day when I went to library storytime with my friend and her toddler. Watching the kids get excited over everything - from hearing a story to playing with blocks to picking out books to check out - was so fun.
Candilynn Fite said…
All so true! Loved the post, Kim. Often times when I'm working on my younger wips (picture books), I get down on the floor, crawl around, explore outside, pick up logs to see what's creeping underneath, smell things, taste things, close my eyes and listen, and I try to experience all of this from a child's perspective. Hanging out with my inner child is a habit of mine. Sometimes she gets control, and we walk around with the "I know you are, but what am I?" attitude. But in all seriousness, being able to connect with my inner child is a fabulous tool w/ all of my writing.

On the #wipmadness front, I received an email from my agent last night with some big revision notes for my ms. Huge. She's calling for major changes. So for the rest of the month (and then some), I'll be tackling them. After several editors passing, it's necessary. I have to keep telling myself, "You can do this. You got it. You've got what it takes."

So, I'm passing on my words of encouragement to all of you wipsters out there struggling to make it happen.

You can do this.
You got it.
You've got what it takes.

Congrats, Pat!
PatEsden said…
Yay!!! I'm so thrilled. This was the perfect day for a special treat.

What I need to remember is to sometimes let myself do the fun things first instead of forcing my way through the tough projects. Yeah, this might be the wrong approach for some, but I think I need a joy break. Write what I want.

OMG. The bakery across the street just phoned. They have the maple sticky buns I LOVE. They only make them a couple times a year! I am going to celebrate like a six-year-old.
Being back in the classroom this past month has helped me witness this first hand. Yeah. I need to lighten up. But I can't force it. These heavy emotions need to have their time on center stage. However, I am having some fun plotting a story with my 4 1/2 yr old neighbor. He's gonna illustrate it. He's very excited. ^_^
Oh there is so much to learn from kids! Your last GIF made me think of something else: Don't forget to look at things from a different angle. Stand on your head, look from the inside out and the outside in. Life isn't linear, no matter what that buried calendar says.

And I'm all for opening your mind and your heart and taking some risks. I've watched my kids lose some of that abandon as they've grown older, but we keep working on bringing it the right circumstances! (I'd rather not be rushing to the hospital!)

Write on, Wipsters!
Denise Jaden said…
I spend a lot of time thinking about creativity with my son. I, like you, homeschool, but unlike most of my homeschooling friends, I try not to put the focus on academics. I'm always trying to bring out my son's creative side because I figure the longer he is used to using that side, the easier it will be to be creative without fear or shame as he gets older. I take a lot of flack for this attitude, but I'm fairly strongly persuaded. Childhood is supposed to be a time first and foremost to be creative.

As for progress...I'm having some trouble getting going this morning, but I plan to focus right no...
Kim Baccellia said…

I need to remember the joy my first graders had with their art projects especially the ones we put together for Open House night. Such creativity and no feel of failing. Yes, it's hard to remember it's okay to color outside of the lines sometimes.

Thanks for posting!
Kim Baccellia said…

I know! Toddlers show such enthusiasm with reading. I took my son to those when he was younger. It amazed me how much energy and excitement filled that small library room!

Kim Baccellia said…

Ooh, very cool! I write mostly YA so I sometimes hang on the edges around where ever they are. When I was a first grade teacher we'd write Big Books together. I'd ask students to use all their senses. Those were the best books!

You can do it with your Wip! My own story NO GODDESSES ALLOWED had huge revision notes too. It was hard but I was able to do it!

Doing a little cheer for you over here!

Thanks for posting!
Kim Baccellia said…


OMG, I'm so jealous! Those maple sticky buns sound heavenly! Enjoy!
Kim Baccellia said…

Ooh, sounds fun! I used to have a writer's workshop going with my then 3rd grader. He wrote TONS of zombie stories and loved illustrating them. I seriously know that later when his ES stressed more formal writing? His love for writing these books disappeared. I know you need to know the formal part of writing but still teachers should encourage the fun of just writing to write.

How fun to have a 4 1/2 year old help with illustrations!

Thanks for posting!
Kim Baccellia said…
Mary Ann,

Exactly! I often wondered what happens to that inner joy we had as children. Then I started homeschooling through a charter school. We still have to take STAR testing so I've seen how more emphasis is on the 'basics' and not the so-called frill like the arts. I do have son in an art class and he's also taking theater and Lego league. I remember what one mother told me when I said he was taking a Lego league class. "That's not school. That's just fun." Uh, no. Son programs, helps put together a robot, using Legos, learns team work, and competes at LegoWorld.

Thanks for posting!
Kim Baccellia said…

I need to do more with the fun things too with my son. Right now our charter school has been stressing the basics. I do think if we just pound academics into a child, then, yes, the excitement and thrill of learning leaves.

You can do it today! Yes, you can!

Shaking my pom-poms your way!
Shari Green said…
Denise and Kim, I get so annoyed and frustrated with a "back to the basics" approach, because it usually seems to mean neglecting music, art, etc. To me creativity and the arts ARE basics. I hate that one entire side of our brain is less valued than the other side. But maybe I shouldn't get going on this, lol, or it could be a long rant...

Kim, I love your post. "Concentrate on what you love and ignore those naysayers" is definitely something I need to continue to learn (and sadly, the naysayer is often myself/my doubts). Thanks for this encouragement!

Getting lots done so far today, thanks to a day off work, a pot of tea, and a hard copy of my ms.
Misha Gericke said…
The thing I've been thinking about when it comes to children is how they never immediately assume the worst. I guess it's innocence, but in a sense, it makes them happier, don't you think?

Anyway, checking in, I wrote a bit, but my mind seems to have jumped over into revision mode whether I wanted it to or not. Ended up only doing about 360 words. Read 12 chapters too, but because of my migraines this week, I'm ridiculously far behind.
Kim Baccellia said…

I'm with you! Studies do show that the arts do help children with their academics. I've been on both sides as an educator and now as a parent. I know my son is happier when he's in theater, art, and music. It's just so sad that due to budget cuts those are the first programs to be cut.

I told myself that I'll not let naysayers get me down. And I'm getting better the older I become.

Yay, for getting lots done. I had tea today too. Love it. This next week is Spring Break and I plan to stop at Teavana and pick up some more.

Kim Baccellia said…

Omg, so true! Children don't think the worse and also are more forgiving too.

I feel for you on those migraines. This year's been the worse for those and sinus issues. Ugh. Hope you feel better!
Melissa Grey said…
If there was one thing I learned as a teacher, it was that kids are often more resilient than their parents. They might get upset or cry or sulk for a while but they're better at moving on. Adults dwell on the negative. As writers, we deal with a lot of criticism and rejection and it's so easy to hold on to it. Kids live in the moment, not in the past, and we could all learn a little something from that.

I sailed past the 50k mark on the WIP today while obsessively rereading the MS that made it to the agent round of Pitch Madness. All in all, a productive day. Hope you're all doing well going into the last week of March Madness!
Kim Baccellia said…
Very true, Melissa. We can take a lesson from children and be more resilient especially when it comes to rejections.

Yay, for making it to the agent round of Pitch Madness. Did you get a request? Very cool!
Yay, Pat. Congrats!

I giggled at the title. I hardly have a problem tapping into my inner child. I think my inner child is more or less my outer child, especially with the tots.

Three-year old inquisitiveness and awe. That was my weekend with my nephew. I constantly look to him and his sister for inspiration. And the sheer joy when they discover something for the first time or realize they did something correctly, it melts my heart.

Awesome progress today catching up on all my work for workshops and for submission call outs. I rewrote a scene from a new perspective, inspired by my nephew. It was heart-wrenching because the scene involved a little brother captured by bandits and his sister chasing after them on foot. I had the boy yelling her name as his arms flailed. My nephew walked in and started dancing a scene from Madagascar ('I Like to Move It' number) and I almost cried. Being around them, constantly inspired by them brings out the emotions I need in a scene, especially when children are involved in the story.

My time spent with the kids as an aunt is precious. My time spent with the kids as a writer is priceless.

Hugs from my inner child to yours,

L.S. Taylor said…
I can learn their ability to see truth because they have a unique view of the world, a view we learn to suppress as we get older.

Helped friends move today so nothing to report, but it was useful because I got to hear stories from my one friend's brother. He's descended from storytellers and he has a way of spinning real tales that engages all the listeners around him.

Now I'm watching my husband play an adventure game, and I'm totally engrossed in the detailed story being told there.
Kim Baccellia said…

Very true. Children do view the world in an unique way. I love to listen to children and they're not afraid to tell the truth.

Ooh, on being around a storyteller! Very fun!
Kim Baccellia said…

Isn't it amazing to see things through the eyes of younger children? The excitement of holidays, seasons, and just life? I kind of miss that part of being a first grade teacher.

Thanks for dropping by!
Melissa Grey said…
Kim, the agent round for Pitch Madness is March 26-28. They'll post the agent bids on the 28th, I think. Fingers crossed! Honestly, I'm not even worried about requests . . . I'm just glad I made it that far. It's nice to know that people I'm not related to are actually interested in the stories I want to tell.
Kim Baccellia said…

Very cool! Crossing fingers for ya!

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