To be a doctor, you have to go to college.
To be a lawyer, you have to go to college.
To be public school teacher, you have to go to college.
But to be a children's writer? Nope. You don't have to go to college.
Or do you?
Serious KidLit writers know that there is A LOT to know about writing for children. From the simple things like understanding why you should bold 'a lot' as a phrase instead of 'a LOT,' to the more challenging things like how to get noticed by an agent and finally reach your dream of being published. (Hint, it's not by writing rambling run-on sentence fragments!) But, Nope, you don't need a degree. What you need is to be a part of a thriving KidLit community.
Funny you should ask...
Years ago, when I just a blushing fan who dreamed of writing picture books, I walked up to a booth at my child's school. Sitting behind her books was the lovely Erin Dealey. I'd worked up the courage to say something, and then worked up a question so I didn't feel like an idiot.
"I want to write picture books," I said. "Do you need an agent to be published?"
"No," she replied. She told me a little about her experience becoming an author. Then she gave the best piece of advice I've ever received, "You need to join SCBWI."
SCBWI stands for Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. It is a global organization of children's authors and illustrators - published and unpublished - networked together in a tight kidlit community. It's awesome. If you want to write for children, you should seriously consider joining.
A Community and Education
Once you are wedged into the Kidlit community, it's time to get a kidlit education.
What? Didn't you say I don't need a degree?
Right. But you DO need an education. That's where classes like those offered at KidLit College come in.
Headed by literary agent Jodell Sadler, KidLit College offers classes and webinars designed to give you the education you won't find in most traditional universities and colleges. Let's do a comparison:
Not the Only online course out there
I know KidLit College is not the only online offering to the aspiring children's author. This is just an example of why a KidLit writer's educational path is... unconventional.
What courses do you include in your KidLit writing education?
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)