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One Giant Warning If You Want to Write a Parenting Book

Let's begin with a full Innovative Editing disclosure for anyone who wants to write a parenting book. I myself am not a parent.

While I’ve changed my fair share of dirty diapers as an older child, I’ve never had to stay up all night with a colicky baby. Sure, I’ve tended my fair share of little sibling and babysittee scrapes, bumps and bruises, but I’ve never had to handle the daily ins and outs of being there for a child, accident-prone or not.

And that’s just the very short list of trials and tribulations I haven’t had to go through as of yet.

That’s why I’ll edit a parenting book with a completely clear conscience. But you won’t catch me writing one anytime soon.

It’s also why I went right to actual parents to come up with the Writing Challenge below.

I really think you're going to want to take these next few lines into consideration.

Don’t write a parenting book unless you’re an actual expert.

So you’ve survived dozens of sleepless nights with a wee one who wouldn’t fall asleep. So your toddler is in preschool and you’ve adjusted to being a working mom. So your child just graduated from kindergarten.

So what? Plenty of other parents have been there, done that, and not written a whole book about it at such an early stage. You might want to make sure you have an appropriate degree, a unique angle, or a fully grown child before you start telling everyone else how to parent.

Again, this is advice I’ve gotten from more than one different parent. And you should have seen the looks on their faces as they imparted it.

They. Were. Adamant. Which means you shouldn’t take this Writing Challenge lightly.

As mentioned in Tuesday’s writing Definition, parenting is subjective in so many different ways. There are so many different ins and outs, factors, personalities and techniques to take into consideration.

Not to mention time. There’s the nine months of pregnancy, the infant stage, the toddler stage, the terrible twos, preschool, kindergarten, grade school, high school and, depending on how you look at it, the college years.

Not to be a downer, but you don’t know if your parenting tips have worked or not until your kids are out in the real world away from your side. At least that’s what the mamas and papas I talked to say.

Really, it makes sense that way. You’re not an expert until you’re an expert. And you shouldn’t be writing most nonfiction genres until you’re an expert: until you’ve studied significantly on the subject matter you’re presenting.

This isn’t to say you’re option-less if you want to write a parenting book before you’re at that “expert” phase. You can write one wrapped in a memoir, for instance… an accounting of your own experiences and conclusions so far.

It can be a how-to about a very specific type of parenting during a very specific phase. Or perhaps you could couch it so that it fits into the humor genre.

If none of those seem viable, there’s also the blog option to consider. Build up an audience and maybe even make some money by starting and maintaining a parenting blog – one where you can tackle stuff you are an expert on or be real about your experiences with the parenting journey.

There are definitely open doors to be explored here. As long as you’re not setting yourself up on a parenting book pedestal before you’re ready, let's see what you've got.

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