Childress Ink Celebrates Ten Years!
Why Writers Write & Ways to Keep Going
By Kim Childress
It's hard to believe ten years have passed since Childress Ink started. Beginning as a book review site to share kids' books I loved that I couldn't fit into my regular Girls' Life column, and regular features included a roundup of reviews, an author interview, a giveaway and a spotlight review.
Flash forward ten years and Childress Ink still provides those features, now also shared through our online, affiliate, Ink-a-Dink Children's Bookstore and Boutique. Thanks to the internet and my previous experience working as a bookseller at Kids Ink Children's Bookstore in Indianapolis for seven years (favorite job ever! Shoutout #ShirleyMullin). I started working at the bookstore when I decided to write for children, in 1992, after hearing Patricia MacLachlan speak at the Butler University Children's Literature Conference, where I had my epiphany moment. I worked as a newspaper reporter and advertising sales executive, and I was good at it, but it wasn't my passion. But when I heard Patricia speak, I was reminded of my childhood days spent at the library--I was a library kid--and I thought if I could write for kids and teens to help them know they are not alone and there is life beyond high school, then what I had gone through as a kid would have been worth it all. I never imagined or planned that I would end up working in children's publishing.
Nor did I have any idea I would end up editing children's books, which turns out I am apparently pretty good at, maybe because I've been a life-long reader since age three, or maybe because I have an over-developed sense of empathy and can really get into characters' heads. Along the way I was helped by others in the industry, and so I carry another deep passion, which is to help other writers, the other purpose of Childress Ink. I firmly believe as authors, we need to support each other.
And so today I continue to write, help authors, and I have been blessed with a truly excellent team that has helped me along the way, all are authors with a shared passion for helping other aspiring authors.
Perhaps best of all, I am surrounded by a support system who I can call on in down times. And I can attest that all writers will have times of doubt and discouragement, it comes with the process, along with a stream of continuous rejections. In hopes of encouraging others on their journeys, I say persevere. Don't give up. Find a critique or online group, build a writing community.
Every author faces times when we doubt our works. I frequently reassure my clients they can write, even recently. That is another reason for the sharing of this post. A wonderful resource, one of the best newsletters for writers I have found, is FundsForWriters, established by author, C. Hope Clark, whose wonderful piece I have shared below (with permission).
Even if I never write the "Great American Novel Next Best Seller," I know I have helped others writers along the way, and I have played a part in some powerful books that have affected the lives of children and adults.
How do you make yourself write?
By C. Hope Clark
There are as many reasons for block as there are writers attempting to overcome it. These are the primary obstacles:
- Fear of judgment / self-doubt
- Need for perfection
- Lack of ideas
- Lack of inspiration
- Lack of family support
As a professional, I’ve experienced all of these but one: I’m blessed to have family support. Today I can sit and write just about any time and anywhere. Some days I can write a thousand words in an hour while other days take five or six hours. Some nights when I cannot sleep, I throw on a robe and write, to tire my brain.
What happens in forcing one’s self through those trying times is that you build the foundation for habit. By forcing yourself to not rise from your chair until the work is done, your brain falls into a routine when your body assumes its position at the keyboard.
That doesn’t happen overnight. However, the more you let block prevent you from writing, the more you let the difficulty win, the more your mind learns to dislike the writing in lieu of loving it. By pushing through the block, career writers keep their careers.
Is there more you can do than just bully your way through writer’s block? Sure.
- Read something you admire. Reading good writing gives you incentive to pen your own words.
- Free write without concern about grammar, flaws, or sloppiness. Just get the wheels turning. Write a letter. Note in your journal. Write a poem. Quit worrying about whether it’s worthy. Just get the words down.
- Identify the best time of day to write. Are you a morning or night person? Can you write in spurts or do you need a block of time? Pick the time and stick to it. Show up. If you had a nine-to-five job, you wouldn’t only show up when you felt like it.
Push yourself to write for a half hour, regardless of how poor the writing. Then reward yourself with a break.
Find writing prompts on sites like:
The more you write, the less you get blocked. Sure, there will be times you are exhausted, and you need sleep and recuperation. Few people can write through the feverish haze of the flu. Life throws you stressful obstacles as well. But I’ve written in airports waiting for delayed flights, in hospital hallways, in school pick-up lines, cross-legged on a motel bed, in coffee houses, in parks, in addition to my normal study. It becomes the flip of a switch.
Many psychologists will tell you that block is only as difficult as you let it be. Give yourself permission to write and the words will come. They might not be perfect, but the more you write, the easier they come.
Originally appeared on FundsForWriters Newsletter, Vol. 23, Issue 52, December 28, 2023
Books and Resources
Pathway to Publication: Move Your Writing from Manuscript to Book, by Linda K. Taylor
Highly recommended for all aspiring authors! I have wished for a book such as this, to share with aspiring authors new to the publishing world, and anyone who may want to be a writer, yet feels daunted about where to go or how to begin. The author is a publishing industry professional and college professor with decades of experience, who has put together a “guidebook” that anyone can read and come away with insider knowledge of publishing, a plan for setting and achieving writing goals, and a confidence when submitting your works into the world. As a writer herself, the author compares the journey to an adventurous trek into the unknown wilderness, covering the peaks and valleys that occur in a writer’s life, all shared simply and conversationally from an author who clearly finds joy in leading others along their writing path.
C. Hope Clark is the author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries, The Edisto Island Mysteries, and The Craven County Mysteries. She’s editor of FundsforWriters, one of the Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers and published in The Writer Magazine, Writer’s Digest, Guide to Literary Agents, Writer’s Market, and other trade and online publications.
FundsforWriters is an online resource for writers sharing high quality and paying markets for writers, with a focus on markets, competitions, awards, grants, publishers, agents, and jobs for your writing abilities--with motivation chucked in! Learn more and subscribe to the Funds For Writers Newsletter (#FFW) at FundsForWriters.com
Author ~ Editor ~ Reviewer ~ Speaker
Founder, Childress Ink ~ Ink-a-Dink
Over thirty years in publishing, Kim Childress is an award-winning editor, author, speaker, and reviewer who built her career while raising of personal focus group of four children. More