Well dear fellow Children’s Writer and Friends,
I have procrastinated enough for the moment, or perhaps not. It seems I am not alone. In this enforced time at home, which under normal circumstances so many of us would crave, many creatives are finding it difficult to do their thing. So what can you do to find the positive mindset and creative headspace you need to write at this difficult yet opportune time? Here’s some activities, I’m going to at least try over the next month or two.
First and foremost, is to get some sun. Notoriously indoor desk type people, there really is nothing stopping writers from working outside. Take your latest WIP and all it’s paraphernalia onto a picnic blanket. Or like me right now take your iPad (laptop) onto the back steps and take in some Vitamin D. We’re so lucky in Australia particularly today to be blessed with a glorious, warm sunny day. No rain, not too hot, a cool breeze blowing across your slowly basting limbs, and perfect for a spot of scrawling and scribbling (or typing). If like me, you have a canine companion requiring you to constantly throw a ball, stick or some other piece of equipment to be retrieved, you’ll be bound to find yourself smiling joyfully at the normality and beauty of the moment. .
Next, why don’t you try a different creative pursuit. Oddly enough, the December holidays, another perfect writing time saw me lacking much desire to do so. Frankly and ironically now, I needed the rest. However, I didn’t let that stop me creating and had a dabble in something I haven’t done much since high school. I drew! And I loved it! It was creative, fun and as I had no intention of sharing it with anyone beyond the challenge group, (30 Day Sketchbook Challenge) it was freeing and satisfying. Just like books can take you to a different place, time spent in drawing or I suspect any other form of creative pursuit from painting to sewing to gardening (my husband’s creative preference) can take you away, briefly at least from the troubles of the world. A little mind break as it were. It also helps keep you away from endless news broadcasts and negative (if you have some of those circles- aren’t we so lucky in the mostly positive world of KidLit?) social media posts. That’s got to be good for you on so many levels.
Still don’t feel like writing or illustrating? How about some polishing, editing, redrafting? I’ve recently found an old manuscript which I thought might be suitable for a competition. I polished and polished. I asked ‘what if’ and rewrote the whole thing, more than once, then edited and polished again, I was delighted with the manuscript I submitted not only to the international competition, but also to a local publisher. I had a wonderful time taking and nurturing this ancient seed, testing it through the fire of scrutiny and emerging with a completely new creation, a manuscript I am truly proud of. I’m digging in that old bottom draw, searching for other gems to test and polish to a gleam. What don’t you come prospecting with me, illustrators too, nay especially and see what stunning artistic gems we can find?
Submit, submit, submit! A goal of mine for this year. In fact the only one I still have control over and am likely to achieve due to the postponement of, well just about everything in my two part time day jobs. (Casual teacher and Sacramental Coordinator) On the upside, my current job title, is definitely Author/Writer! What better time to push the inner critic away and own it! I am a Children’s Author. Therefore, I need to get my work out there and into the hands of publishers. If writing creatively is eluding you right now, submission writing is a whole different kettle of fish. Still somewhat creative, essentially submission writing is a type of creative nonfiction, that is presenting your facts in as creative and interesting a manner as possible.
Finally in my top five ways to kickstart your creative mojo during this time of intense, uncontrollable, isolating change, why not learn something? It could be something completely new. Udemy has courses on just about everything at reasonable prices with regular specials making learning even cheaper. If you like many, many people in all walks of life, are unsure of your income at this time Skillshare offer free courses as are many in the KidLit industry at the moment. eg Sally Rippin, SCBWI (if you’re a member) Dymocks. Look up your favourites and see what they offer or recommend. Or if you’re at all like me, you might consider searching through your computer files where you’ll find a veritable smorgasbord of incomplete or perhaps even untouched courses. What better time to complete them. Look through your physical notebooks too, where you’ll no doubt find abundant suggestions, ideas, prompts and writing exercises from the many conferences, festivals and courses you have attended over the years. Oh, you’re not like me. You’re totally new to this writing lark and haven’t attended anything yet? Then now’s the time to check out conferences and festivals you may otherwise have been unable to attend due to associated travel and accommodation costs. You’ll find like the CYA Conference and the Sydney Writer’s Festival, they’ve probably moved online and at a discounted rate! (Or even free for the SWF)
I hope you’ve found at least one helpful tip here to get you creating again dear fellow traveller. Till next time, farewell, go gently, stay safe and healthy.
Savour the Quest
Lovely post Artelle, I have been prospecting and plan to work on completing courses and maybe some stories. I managed a blog post for March so I feel like I achieved something. I have been feeling a little numb, but I think I am slowly resurfacing. Thanks for the encouragement.
You’re welcome Rhiannon. In a lot of ways, this post was me trying to figure things out myself and not lose personal momentum either. I too, needed to get this March post out to feel I had achieved something yesterday as I certainly hadn’t over the weekend, quite numb here too. So great we can support each other, I so love the KidLit Industry! So supportive
Hi Artelle, thanks for such a useful post. It’s almost as If you are inside my head. Normally I would be wanting all this enforced time at home to complete and polish stories, but have found myself stuck!. I’m going to try and at least submit something otherwise I’ll be really annoyed with myself and it will take even longer to get something done.
Thanks for the inspiration, hopefully next time you blog I might be able to say I have submitted something. You have spurred me on.
I hope you and your family are and stay well.
Catherine Bourne 🙂
Submit Catherine, you’ll feel a bit better. It’s one thing you can control. I’m pleased I inspired you and I’m not surprised it feels like I’m in your head, I think most creatives (and many of the general population) feel exactly the same way at the moment. As Rhiannon said above, all that’s been going on is quite numbing.
Take care and I look forward to hearing about your submission next month.
NB Affirm is open on Monday 6th April and many others are open now including Penguin Random House who just opened to PBs this week.