Fourth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day…
I know, I know. Why am I thinking of July, September, and October during Christmas week? Many of us are cooking, wrapping, preparing for guests, etc. As one old TV show robot used to say: “This does not compute.”
The sounds, smells, and traditions of the holiday season tend to inspire writers for children. We imagine stories about dreidels, candles, sleighs, elves, snow, and magic. What we should be doing, however, is thinking about the beach.
There are fewer magazines for children but the ones that exist are already planning their summer and fall issues. The holiday issue was put to bed long before you started shopping for gifts.
Even if you are thinking about a holiday-related book, you must plan to complete it way ahead of the time that holiday rolls around again. A picture book illustrator needs weeks and months to work with your manuscript and the designer needs time, too. It’s already too late to submit that December picture book idea you have (and haven’t quite written yet) in time to see it on store shelves next year.
Many new writers think that picking a topic for a particular upcoming event will almost guarantee a sale. It might, but only if you plan ahead. Any articles written about last Friday’s Mayan calendar “predictions” for example, were most likely finished months and months ago.
So here’s my holiday wish for you: May your 2013 writing be infused with planning, prophecy, and production.
In the meantime, have a cookie while you’re thinking.