A Passion Turned Into Reality
Margaret Snyder Shares Her Success In Creative Writing
EPIC senior copywriter, Margaret Snyder, launched her writing career in a fascinating way. Now with 37 years of knowledge in the industry, she reflects on how her past experiences as a children’s author are helping her thrive in her new role at EPIC.
Going Above and Beyond
In the first 12 years of her career, Margaret wrote more than 100 children’s books for Disney. Am I jealous? Absolutely!
As a kid, people may have asked you what you wanted to do when you grew up. It can take some people a while to figure out their passion but, from early on, Margaret was someone who knew that her passion for writing was going to turn into a career.
Margaret began her career writing stories for the coloring book division of Western Publishing. At the time, this company was known for publishing Little Golden Books. I admit that I had to look them up to see what they were, but as soon as I did, I recognized them from my childhood.
It was at this point that her parents were convinced that she was going to wind up on the street without a job. How wrong they were! She quickly moved her way up the ladder, becoming the managing editor of the Golden Sound Storybook line. She wrote Disney’s Pocahontas and a few other books for Little Golden Books.
It soon became evident that versatility was a strong suit of Margaret’s. She wrote for a wide variety of well-known brands, from Old Macdonald Has a Farm to The Goofed-up Pet Shop. Her favorite book and tape that she wrote was Elmo’s Night Before Christmas. She could really get into the characters and the stories. Although she was given different storylines, her task was the same: simplify a complex movie into a story for children.
Now, that sounds easy at first, but it was a skill she had to practice. She mentioned a time that she struggled with simplifying a Lion King book. Margaret explained, “When the Lion King movie came out, I had 20 sentences to sum up the entire movie. It isn’t hard until you have to introduce all of the characters.”
Not too long after, she made her way into the big leagues and began freelance writing books for Disney. Through practice and repetition, the process of writing short stories got easier for Margaret. She was successful because she was consistently improving her skills. Her talents would soon be noticed by Lucasfilm.
Lucasfilm hired her to write Star Wars books. As she was talking about her published work, she mentioned it as though this is a ‘normal’ experience that everyone has. She shared, “I still have copies of this random Star Wars book I wrote at my house. That’s one thing that most people are intrigued by.”
I feel very fortunate to be a writer. I feel like it’s a major victory if you can do something you love.
As she shared all of her experiences, I had no idea that her small decision to begin her career working for Western Publishing would lead to such big opportunities.
Learning from Experience
Margaret finds that the same skills she learned in her children’s publishing help her thrive in roles in the corporate world and advertising—including her new role at EPIC.
“It’s really interesting because writing for children helps a lot with advertising. Clients may have complicated products, yet they must communicate to customers in simple terms.”
By starting with the basics of writing for kids, she learned the importance of writing short and concise stories. She continues to hone her craft —focusing on the core ideas and the main message she wants to get across, sticking to the basics, and including only the most relevant information in her writing.
It’s all about simplifying. What’s the simplest way to say it so that everyone understands it?
There’s a lesson to be taken away from every experience. For Margaret, embracing challenges like simplifying The Lion King made her a stronger writer and opened many doors in advertising and technical writing. Next time you tackle a challenge like Margaret did, you might find yourself in the middle of YOUR own heroic adventure story.
Riley Jahnke is a Content Intern at EPIC and a senior at Lakeland University. In her free time, she enjoys playing college soccer and spending time with family and friends.