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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Sara T. Behrman

author Sara T. Berhman and her book The Sea Hides a Seahorse

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is important to me because it allows me to communicate with people I know and those I do not know. It’s an important medium for the world because it allows a person to fully express a thought with more words than typically available in any other medium. I enjoy writing for children because it helps me share what I’ve discovered, the adventures I’ve had, and the mysteries I’ve decoded. Writing helps me communicate the joy of life’s discoveries. Good stories nurture a love for reading, and reading is like having your own personal time and space travel machine–you can travel anywhere.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I have never experienced writer’s block. If a story becomes stubborn while I am trying to write it, I leave it alone for a while and work on something else. I always have a bunch of works-in-progress at various stages of development. For example, one story idea might need to be researched; another draft story is awaiting revision; and another might be in the process of being critiqued or professionally edited. Having a variety of writing projects to work on allows me the luxury of choice; I am happiest when I can pick and choose what I’m working on during any given day.

What is your favorite time to write? When I had to balance my creative writing time with my client-driven, technical writing business time, I grabbed creative writing time whenever I could. These were precious, stolen moments of joy for me. The purpose of my business writing was to eventually support my creative writing. With my debut book, I have given myself permission to devote as much of my day to my own creative writing. I have found that I prefer to write in the morning (before lunch) and in the late afternoon (after coffee but before supper)

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Approach writing the way you would any other task that feels insurmountable. Break a big writing project into little steps; small daily steps like writing a paragraph, a page, or a chapter can add up over time into a finished draft that is then ready to be revised. Listen to your character’s voices in your head and follow their advice about your story, and not the voice of your inner critic. Take advantage of so-called “down time” to listen to your characters; I’ve written a lot of dialogue and resolved many story problems while sitting in the dentist chair, having my teeth cleaned.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I think it’s exciting to be a writer in today’s age because we have many more options for sharing our stories with prospective readers. Changes in the publishing industry, such as the emergence of hybrid publishing, allows us to collaborate with a team of professionals (e.g., art designers, illustrators, publicists, etc.). We can have more control over our work as it develops, while still having access to markets through large distributors. Social media has changed the reader engagement process, as have virtual platforms like podcasts and Zoom. There are many more ways to engage with the gatekeepers of children’s books. I am excited to explore them all so I can decide which ways are best for me.

Sara T. Behrman’s The Sea Hides a Seahorse, illustrated by Melanie Mikecz, is out now with The Collective Book Studio.