What we can Learn From Babies

By Jeff Hite

As most of you probably know, I am a sucker for babies, and really little kids in general. My wife says that is why we have as many of them as we do. Beyond the fact that they are general very cute and lovable, there are things that you can learn from a baby or a little kid that can help you in your writing, especially when writing that first draft.

Babies don’t care what they look like. Have you ever watched a baby learn to crawl? They make lots of funny faces, they squirm and get in odd positions, but they never look around to see who is looking when they get ready to stick their butt up in the air.

The same should be true when you are getting that story out. It should not matter what it takes, you need to get the story out. It does not matter if you write it on a multi-thousand dollar computer or on a roll of toilet paper with a crayon (as long as you can read it afterwords) or anything in the middle. The important thing is to get the story out.

To a baby everything is new. We should never stop learning. To me this is a rule of life, I am always doing research about something. A lot of that knowledge ends up in the useless trivia bucket but one man’s useless trivia is another mans ten book series. The phrase write what you know should not be an excuse not to write a story about something you don’t know a lot about, but that you should maybe take the time to learn about it before you write about it.

To be a super hero all you need is a cape. A better title for this might be that you can do anything you put your mind to. Kids are great, you give them a cape or a magic wand and nothing is impossible to them, their imaginations never stop. Why is it that as adults we forget that innocence. Why do we limit what we write about to what the world tells us could happen. Never be afraid to but that cape on and go save the day.

Babies are proud every time they do some thing new. This morning I watched my daughter as she is just starting to cruise the couch. For those of you without kids this is the point in the pre-walking stage when they have to hang on to something about their height, usually a couch or coffee table. She would take a step and the look up at me as if to say, hey dad, look what I did. Then she would smile and laugh and do it again. And as soon as mom got up she did it all over again.

So what does this have to do with writing? Simple, don’t be afraid to share you work with people. For a number of years I would write stories, and write stories, and write stories but never show them to anyone. Until I final started just sharing them. Sure you should edit and spell check, but once you have done that show it to someone. That is the only way you are going to get and feedback about it. And without feedback how are you going to get any better. Sure it takes courage. Sure it means letting go of the couch and falling on your face a few times but, how else will you learn to walk.

Jeffrey Hite is a recovering compulsive short story writer, with dreams of one day selling a few of them. He currently lives in up state New York with his wife, nine kids a dog and a varying number of chickens. In his “Free time” (Cough, cough sorry I almost choked on that) He can also be found hanging around the Flying Island’s Pirate’s Cove and acting as the managing editor. http://Flyingislandpress.com/cove

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