Harnessing Your Inner Child by Donna Galanti
Childlike wonder. What was yours as a kid? I walked along rock walls under the stars at night. Climbed trees to sing songs to the woods. And hid away in rose bush caves with a notepad to write my stories – all the while believing that magic existed.
Regaining a childlike sense of wonder isn’t about returning to a childlike state, it’s about letting yourself be awed by the little things in your grownup life. The mundane every day is what can dull our wonder. And just because those little things happen every day doesn’t mean they aren’t miraculous.
But keeping your childlike wonder can be difficult when grownup duties mount. One winter day as I tried to write, I watched two kids sled. Their laughter and joy snapped me out of my trapped trance. I remembered being ten years old and how a whole day of sledding was magical.
And I realized now that in order to do my job well as a children’s author, and to find joy in it, I needed to rekindle my kid wonder again. How can we keep that kind of wonder with us?
Me with my lion ring.
I found wonder in my hero then, the lion from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.
My wonder list:
- Re-visit pictures of yourselves as a kid. Daydream about what you were doing in those photos. What were you excited about?
- Did you write diaries as a child or teen? Go back and read them to inspire that voice of youth in your own writing.
- Look at the world from a different perspective. Like the snow. I went out in it and made a snow angel and looked up at the sky. Something I hadn’t done in years.
- Create a new bucket list together with your kids or grandkids. What do they dream of doing that you could do with them?
- Read stories by your own children, or grandchildren, to see how they view the world in their words.
- Revive memories of being the age of your characters. Draw a map of the neighborhood you grew up in. Remember what you saw, what you felt, and how you reacted to events there and write them down.
- Act out a scene in your book, or any book, with dramatic flair.
- Face a childhood fear (mine was going down in our dark 200-year-old cellar where I had been sure dead bodies were buried in the dark hole in the wall).
In doing these things myself, I remembered how awesome it was to be a kid again and lost in the moment. And that every day as a kid was about being swept up in the magical moments. And I could once again be lost in the wonder – and the small things.
How do you harness your childlike wonder in writing for tweens or teens?
Buy Joshua and the Arrow Realm and Joshua and the Lightning Road (book one on sale now for just $.99cents through 9/20) at: http://www.donnagalanti.com/books/
About Donna: Donna Galanti is the author of the Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and the Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). She is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. Donna has lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse that has lots of nooks and crannies, but sadly no ghosts. You can find her books, resources for writers, and upcoming events at www.elementtrilogy.com. For more information on her writing for tweens and teens visit www.donnagalanti.com.
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