All I Really Wanted to Know About the Writing Life, I Learned in Kindergarten:

All I Really Wanted to Know About the Writing Life, I Learned in Kindergarten:

 Mastering the alphabet will help.

 Books are great, but let’s face it…full-on celebrations make them even better. Throw parties for books. Huge, overdone parties with music and color and way too much glitter glue. Paper crowns aren’t a bad idea, either.

 That first big step onto the bus is going to be tough but so worth it.

 Writing is like using Play-Doh. You imagine something and then try to create it with your hands. You may not be happy with it at first but that’s totally okay; Play-Doh can be reshaped again and again.

 Dick and Jane told us to “LOOK!” Instead, focus on SEEING.

 Be patient. When you plant that seed in the Dixie cup, it takes attention and time to grow. So do writers and/or manuscripts.

 Making friends in the literary sandbox is essential. You learn things about your craft, as well as yourself, by opening up to other artists/writers.

 If someone in the sandbox throws sand, walk away and let it go. Life is too short.

 Get messy; you’re supposed to.

 Don’t worry about being the best in the class. You have a special gift that is unique to you and you alone. Think about honing that gift rather than comparing your gift to others’ gifts.

 Know how to find the bathroom. (More people will sit with you at lunch this way.)

 Moving your body is good for your mind; go swing on the monkey bars.

 Writing for publication is like “Show and Tell” on steroids.

 A new batch of pens, pencils, notebooks, and a cool backpack are going to make you really happy. Trust me on this.

 There are times to walk in line with everyone else.

 Do your best work to get your writing posted on the bulletin board. Perhaps, your teacher, Mrs. Kirkus, will even give you a star.

 The ride to school can be bumpy, but there’s a lot to observe and enjoy along the way.

 Unchain the muse from the desk. Dance and sing and paint and play. Laugh and wonder, walk and question. Your writing will be better for it.

 A morning meeting is the way to start your day: say hello to your friends, get organized, make note of the weather, weigh-in on current events, check your calendar, and set goals for the day. Then, get to work.

 Enjoy creative license. Skies don’t have to be blue. Grass doesn’t have to be green. Color outside the lines.

 Fitting in is important. But, standing out is, too.

 A little quiet time is good.

 If you really like a song and it inspires your muse, sing it over and over. And over.

 Try to remember that others are on the same challenging journey as you, so don’t be afraid to slide on over and offer to share your snack.

(Thanks to Robert Fulghum for inspiration)



Filed under Celebrations, Colleagues, Editing and Revising, Happiness, rejection and success, Satisfaction, Writing, Writing and Life

23 responses to “All I Really Wanted to Know About the Writing Life, I Learned in Kindergarten:

  1. jeannie

    Very cute, Lynda! And so true. Thanks!


  2. I love back-to-school shopping! There’s a thrill that comes in the pen and pencil aisle of an office supply store that just can’t be duplicated. And the smooth perfection of the first page of a new notebook, one that doesn’t have any impressions on it yet… that’s just an undiscovered world.

    But don’t ask me to color outside the lines. I’m simply incapable. Waaaaay too much of a perfectionist.

    Great post! 🙂


    • Lynda Mullaly Hunt

      The more you weigh in on this blog, the more I thik that we must be kindred spirits. Ask anyone. I’m a office supply addict–especially small, yellow legal pads and Sharpie pens. Now, I can write them off–how exciting!!!

      Imust admit, I found it difficult to color completely inside the lines ALL the itme. HA!


      • Oooooooh! Sharpies! I adore Sharpies! I finally caved in and bought the multi-color pack (regular rainbow colors, not the limited edition “80s mix”). My kids are not allowed within ten feet.

        You know those little, cute ones they have at the check-out counter in bins, that you can attach to your keys or purse? I LOVE them, even though they are completely useless. Because really, a Sharpie for your key chain? Am I that desperate?


  3. I have so many favorites here: mastering the alphabet, stepping onto the bus (Oh, those damned first pages), making friends in the literary sandbox, seeing not just looking, swing on the monkey bars, share your snack…

    And, the blogger is one of my favorites, too!


  4. Suzanne

    Very, very cute. I loved this. I think my favorite is the morning meeting. I never thought about it this way, but that is what I do. Thanks for the post.


    • Lynda Mullaly Hunt

      HI, Suzanne! Yes, I was cracking up while writing that one. I was shocked at how closely my schedule mirrors that of a kindergarten class! Who knew!? (I guess I should have…)


  5. J. Anderson Coats

    Since Lynda didn’t say I couldn’t eat the paste, I’m going to assume it’s okay.


  6. Words of wisdom to live by! I’m especially fond of “Enjoy creative license” thanks to an incident from my own kindergarten days. I’d colored my bunny’s carrots purple and the teacher berated me in front of the class saying that everyone knows carrots are orange. I remember thinking, of course they’re orange, but that doesn’t mean we have to color them that way.


  7. I love this, Lynda!!! Well done! One of my favorite lines: “Writing for publication is like ‘Show and Tell’ on steroids.”
    To Jeanne: If you’d colored the carrots orange with purple shadows, you’d have been hailed as a genius. Sometimes the people in charge don’t quite understand what we’re after. (I got chastized for writing in 5th grade that I wanted to design a gingham dress with leaves on it: “Gingham is checks!” She’s right but I’d still like to)
    On perfectionism: I discuss that in every event with kids. The more I allow my perfectionism to slide, the happier I am.


    • Lynda Mullaly Hunt

      Ruth–Thanks! I love the “You’d be a genius if you had purple shadows.” What makes it hilarious is that it is so true! Also, I’d like to see a gingham dress with leaves on it in your next sketchbook! A tribute to “Sliding Perfectionism!”


  8. You weighed in on current events in kindergarten? I guess I was over in the corner with J eating the paste at that point in time. Does that count as sharing our snack?


  9. Lynda Mullaly Hunt

    Absolutely! I think paste is an excellent source of riboflaven.

    Current events in kindergarten? No. All we did *back then* was play with Play-Doh. Explains some things, doesn’t it? As a teacher, though, I know that kindergartens do weigh in on current events–in their special kindergarten ways.


  10. Sad that nap time has gone out of style in most Kindergartens these days! My son, a newly-minted Kindergartener, said that although they don’t have an official nap time, his teacher said she doesn’t mind if they put their heads on their desks from time to time. I clearly need to put my head down on *my* desk from time to time, too…


    • Lynda Mullaly Hunt

      Oh, that’s so sweet! I love kindergarteners–nothing more hilarious than a group of kindergarteners piling into the classroom. With that picture in my head, let me add on more to the list:

      **Enthusiastically celebrate even the smallest of successes!


  11. I loved them all – but especially creative license! Brilliant post!


  12. Lynda Mullaly Hunt

    Thanks so much, Jen! I do love that creative license!


  13. Pingback: In Pursuit of Kindergarten | EMU's Debuts

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