Want to write a novel? There’s never a better time

Did you know, we are in the middle of National Novel Writing Month? And did you also know there are three other awareness days and weeks related to literature during November?

We’re not quite sure why November has been selected as the month to start putting pen to paper, or for dusting off the diary, or for burying yourself in a good book.

Maybe it’s because, with the clocks having gone back at the end of October, bringing darker evenings and longer nights, we are less likely to be outdoors, and so looking for something inside to entertain us.

Whatever the reason, there are few better pastimes than reading and writing.

And in case you are interested, here are the other three awareness events we have come across:

  • November 1 – National Authors’ Day
  • From November 8-14 – Children’s Book Week
  • From November 16-20 – World Nursery Rhyme Week

We especially love the last two, as they get right to the heart of what we are all about here at Happydesigner: children’s books. We love illustrating children’s books, many of which will be in rhyme.

If you are a parent who’s been hunting around for a suitable costume for Children’s Book Week, or World Nursery Rhyme Week, you have our sympathies. Even without Sarah-Leigh’s exceptional illustration skills, it’s still much easier to draw Little Miss Muffet than make a costume with eight legs!

Anyway, we’re digressing down a rabbit hole (after Alice’s White Rabbit, we suspect).

November is, as we said, dedicated to all things books, and much of that children’s literature-related with the clear intent of encouraging people to take up a book or take up a pen.

So, are you toying with writing? We’d really urge you to go ahead, even if you don’t intend your writing ever to be published.

It really is never too late to start. Some of our most lauded writers started in their 50s and 60s. We had a quick search and found out that:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she wrote Little House in the Big Woods, the first of her series of novels based on life growing up in Wisconsin in the 1870s.
  • Watership Down began as a story that Richard Adams related to his daughters. He published it at the age of 53.
  • Frank McCourt published his extraordinary memoire, Angela’s Ashes, when he was 66.

We hope this makes you feel inspired. Once you start, and unleash the writing genie from the bottle, you will not want to stop.

Our very own Sarah-Leigh is a prime example. Having first dipped her toe in the water with the Gillie Can series, she has penned another children’s book called Start Today With A Smile and she has more books in the pipeline.

If you want to write, but are not sure how or where to start, there is lots of advice online or you could sign up to a creative writing course.

Our advice would be to first pick your genre (be that sci-fi, thriller, romance, historical etc.). Then, if it is to be children’s book, the age group, so you can pitch it correctly. Be disciplined, setting time aside each day for writing. Always have handy a pen and notebook (or phone with recording facility) so that when inspiration strikes, you can make a quick memo before you forget it.

And you really don’t need to wait for an awareness day, or week, or month to get writing. If you have the muse, then do it now! There’s no time like the present.

If you are in the process of writing a children’s book, and you would love some illustrations to go alongside it, to bring your characters to life, then please get in touch with the Happydesigner team – children’s book illustrators with a passion for reading and writing!

Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "I am absolutely thrilled with the colours and love the look and overall feel of the book, its so different and unique, thank you so much"
  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication. Sarah is a fantastic illustrator! It is nice to know I have worked with someone who is so professional at her job, and will certainly remember her for the future if I need another book illustrating."
  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson