Monday, July 13, 2015

Dr. Seuss Never Had Kids, And Other Stuff You Can Write About Anyway

I'm fairly certain that there isn't one child born in America after 1955 who has not read a Dr. Seuss book, or had one read to them. Everyone knows who the Cat in the Hat is, the dangers of eating green eggs and ham, and that the ocean has red fish in it. But here's the thing that shocked me the first time I found out about it: Dr. Seuss never had any children. There's all sort stuff you can write about anyway, even if you haven't had every experience you're going to put on the page.


Oh, the Places You Will Write

One of my favorite authors took a research trip to write her books, which are set in the Ice Age. I read all about the trip, because she wrote about that as well, with great interest. She trekked all around those caves in France with the caveman drawings, explored all around the Danube, looked at artifacts in museums. And for a few minutes, I was really envious of that trip. Then I realized something important: I don't really want to go on a trip like that. Walk around in a cave and explore a riverbank? Not likely. And the thing is, I don't have to do that. There are all sorts of things you can write about anyway, like if you’re a children’s book author with no kids.

We were all children once…some more than others, perhaps. It isn’t always easy to remember the feeling of being a child, when the world was big, but you can probably remember something that happened to you as a child. Riding a bike, maybe, or opening that amazing present that one time. Even a children’s author with no children has some frame of reference. Once you’ve got that starting point, you’re writing.

Maybe you haven’t been to the famous cave with the caveman drawings, but have you seen a cave? Because frankly, they all have the same features. Taking a trip is really good research. But looking at pictures and reading information online can be pretty good research, too. Dr. Seuss didn’t have kids, but at some point he learned how to speak to them. He used his voice to speak to children through books, and he is one of the most successful and well-known writers ever to do so.

So be like me, and Dr. Seuss. Find ways to write what you want to write, even if you can’t take a trip over to France to study it first.

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