Feb 18, 2009

Odd one out

by Marielle Carlisle

Since my two year has started watching Sesame Street, I’ve been reminiscing back to my Sesame Street watching days, and one bit in particular that I remember is the ‘one of these things is not like the other’ game. There would be four people dancing, or doing something crazy, and three would be dressed in the same color with the other person being different.

Now that I’ve started dabbling in writing, I often feel like the one who doesn’t belong.

I’m really interested in writing a children’s picture book, and am motivated to get one published.

But let’s look at my qualifications:

Um, there are none.

I have a college degree … in Exercise Science. I specifically chose that major because it only required one writing class (and I love learning about the human body, obviously).

I’m a massage therapist. My job requires zero paper work. The only time I actually write things on paper during the week is when I’m making up the grocery list.

One thing I do is type out my journal every Sunday. It has made me a whiz on the keyboard.

Let’s see … what else … I read lots of picture books to the kids. Rough estimate: hundreds.

That about sums it up.

I’ve prayed and pondered about writing, and I’ve really felt that this is something I want and should do, but I just keep waiting for someone to jump out and say “Oh right, you’re not supposed to be here.”

I definitely need to take some writing classes. Any suggestions?

PS I'm just finishing this book

And it is awesome! It's like Jane Austen meets Jane Eyre meets fantasy!


  1. Marielle you'll soon discover that most writers have self esteem problems. We are usually astonded at what others consider great and what we thought was terrific. Just keep writing. Write an article for a parents' magazine on 2 generations of Sesame Street. Start slow and build. And thanks for the recommend, I'll have to check out the book.

  2. I take Character Based Creative Writing Classes from Dr. Pamela Goodfellow. You can email her at pamela@goodfellowpublishing.com. She has changed my world.

  3. Edline has lots of great online writing classes, too, that you can squeeze into your busy life. You have such a fun voice, Marielle; I can just imagine it in a children's book. And I must read your recommendation (:.

  4. A few years back I was inspired to pick up The Artist's Way by Julian Cameron and it really helped me. You should be able to find the book in your local library. It's a 12 week self help course that walks you through understanding how you're creative and to get your art onto the page. She's not a member, but she was totally inspired. I highly recommend it! Also, if you know what sort of writing you want to do...if I were you I'd carve out some quiet time (even if that means wearing headphones with favorite music blasting - anything that drowns out the kids watching cartoons or whatever) sit down with a cheap sketch pad and just play with various ideas. Don't worry about selling it or what anyone else might think. Just play! Have fun and see what happens. If you already have an idea for a story...find a really comfortable pen or pencil that flows right and start writing and making small idea sketches. Do what your artist wants to do...write/draw (play!).

  5. Marielle, you ARE a writer. Your blog proves it. You're clever, entertaining, and I chuckled audibly as I read. So I'm jumping out to say, "Oh right, you ARE suppiosed to be here."

    The writing classes are fun. The books can teach you a lot. But simply writing is mandatary. Get your ideas down, then look for ways to polish them. Write scenes as you think of them, and later you can sort, connect, and polish them. But ideas unwritten are as elusive as butterflies. Get out your butterly net.

    (I talk as if I know. After all, I, too have a college degree -- in English education. Then I taught for 16 years, but only minimal English, because I had to teach everything else my pregnant students needed--like math, accunting, typing, history, government, home ec. P.E. Spanish, biology, parenting, you name it.

    I self-published a different kind of children's book -- a picture book without pictures, but don't know how to market it.

    I've read almost every single Newbery Award winner (remember, they began in the 1920's) many of the runner-ups and at least half the Caldecott winners (though I can't illustrate).

    However, on the bright side, I do get a lot of encouragement along the writing way, both from ANWA and Dr. Goodfellow. If I weren't so busy with Sudoku and blogs and e-mail, I might even get around to real writing. At age 84, though, I'm still full of advice.


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