Nancy's Books

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Are Restraints Holding You Hostage?

As a visiting author, I’ve been extremely fortunate. I love working with kids, love teaching the writing process to kids, and love their excitement when they share the writing. For the last few weeks, I’ve been working with 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 8th graders, primarily focused on informational and nonfiction pieces. Every day, they amaze me with their creativity and enthusiasm. I especially appreciate word choices and phrasing that distinguishes their personalities through writing. Voice. The concept of grasping the personal uniqueness of writing is not an easy task, yet I see it in these young writers. It makes me wonder why it can be so difficult for adult writers.  

Maybe it’s because the students are fearless in placing thoughts on paper. Adults have a contract hanging in the balance, so maybe we can’t capture the voice because somewhere in our minds someone told us that a particular word or phrasing was not acceptable with some editors. Maybe it’s because we try so hard to write a marketable piece that the manuscript becomes too commonplace to stand out. Maybe we’ve allowed our imaginations to hover, rather than soar.

Let’s shake off our restraints and write to please ourselves. The worst that can happen is no contract. Conversely, a new style of writing may evolve from our fingertips.

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
Skipping Stones. Writings (essays, stories, letters to the editor, riddles and proverbs, etc.) should be typed or neatly handwritten and limited to 1,000 words and poems to 30 lines. We encourage writings in all languages with an English translation, if possible. And, we love illustrations! Please send originals of your drawings, paintings, or photos to our post office box address below. Include your name, age, and address along with your submission. We welcome electronic submissions as well. We prefer Word.doc. or .docx.files or text.edit files. Art and photos can be sent as .jpeg or .tiff files. Please DO NOT send us zip.files.
Submissions guidelines at
Skipping Stones. Our readers, ages 7 to 17, hail from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We want to make their reading of Skipping Stones an active experience, relevant to issues confronting them locally and globally. Writing and artwork by adults should challenge readers to think, learn, cooperate and create. 
We encourage adults to submit creative informational stories rather than pure fiction. We prefer submissions focusing on your own culture or experiences. No adult poetry, please. 
Submissions guidelines at