Half An Hour

Hello fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,

Half an hour, I have half an hour till I attend what promises to be an amazing Masterclass in The Duck Pond. I’m giving myself a self imposed deadline in an attempt to get a blog post written for the first time in a few months 😳 If this were the sort of blog where I could prepare blog posts in advance I would. I can’t, trust me I’ve tried.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and so here’s a bit of advice if you’re starting a writing blog. Theme it on something other than the journey, which like the journey itself, can’t be known beforehand. It is experiential.

My current experience and the reason for the extended delay of this blog post is a mix of nothing happening and being aware of things happening. Things I have been involved in, in the past and had success with like the ZineWest competition and the WestWords/Westlit Libraries Living Stories Competition As well as this, preparation for things coming up like the WestWords Academy Alumni Presentation, which I should be getting my part ready for as it is coming soon- 27/4/22 to be exact! All welcome btw. I’ll put out a proper invitation on my socials later this week.

I’m currently on holiday from both of my day jobs, I took LWP from one of them with the aim of having a complete rest and the hope of starting some of these writing related pursuits. . . but alas, nothing. I even looked up my own previous post on paralysis in the hope of finding an answer, a plan, a way forward- nothing!

Yup! Note, stuff going on in background. ‘I
should deal with that- Yeah nah’

Now if you recall, this is my year of allowing myself, my creativity to lie fallow, so why am I even writing about this state of paralysis. Well, it’s because it’s new, different to last time. It’s not paralysis from overwhelm, but rather from not knowing how long and how much I should allow my creativity to lie fallow and how much I should exercise the ol’ writing muscle? Creativity is not dead incidentally, I have continued to dabble in a little art, which currently along with reading of course, is ‘my happy place’, no pressure you see.

Also so this doesn’t seem like a post completely about nothing, my time in fallow has produced a few gems of ideas, which I’m struggling to decide whether to write or percolate.

Percolating at the moment, but that’s not necessarily a decision I made, more of an allowing myself to trust. Trust in myself, trust in the process.

Wow, four minutes till the end of my half hour, just enough time to get set up! There’s something to take away fellow travellers, short, sudden self imposed deadlines seem to work! For me, today anyway 😀

Farewell fellow travellers,

Savour the quest,

Journeygirl

Posted in Creativity, Organisation, Road to Publication, Work/Life Balance, Writer's Conditions | 1 Comment

Organic Writing: A Time Of Fallow For A Fertile Imagination

WAIT! And Imagine… These are my words for 2022.

Hello Fellow Children’s Writers and friends,

A new year, a new start, time to get in and do a better job than last year, time for New Year’s Resolutions and for the more enlightened and less self-flagellating of us: goal setting.

Of course there are some areas of my life where I could have done better than last year, but overall considering it was the second and for me, much more challenging year of a global pandemic, I’m more than happy with what I achieved.

Sure, I would have loved to have given Star a better start in the world by physically getting out there with it, but for the large part this was out of my control and I simply have to accept that and move on to 2022 where there may still even be some opportunities for me to share my debut PB.

2022 for me, however will look very different to 2021 for it needs and hopefully will be a year of fallow, preparing the soil of my imagination for potential creation and growth. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up being my words for next year.

My word last year, although I forgot about it part way through the year was SHINE and shine I did, in almost every aspect of my life! If you follow my blog or only read my last post you will see what I mean. It’s funny how you don’t have to consciously work on your word, except for perhaps the first few weeks while you are clarifying your goals and plans, yet it still permeates and impacts on your life.

So, why are 2022’s words WAIT! and Imagine…?

Despite all that was going on in the past two years, I also put the added pressure of acquiring another contract on myself. You may say, ‘That’s not a bad thing is it? Shouldn’t you be trying to get other books out there, build a career?’ Definitely, if that’s what you really want. While that is what I really want now, it wasn’t when I started writing PBs. (I’ve always written for my own pleasure) When I started writing PBs it was because I experienced so many beautiful ones in my life first as a teacher then a mother, that I wanted to write and publish one too. End of story.

Goals change as your journey unfolds.

It was wonderfully serendipitous and simultaneously unfortunate for me, that my contract came quite quickly. Quite early in the process, so for me the obligatory apprenticeship of a children’s book creator, the endless writing practice, the waiting, the resting, the allowing my creative soil to lie fallow while I continue to practice, learn and grow has come and will continue to come now, before my one day second book.

Fallow fields, rich soil, lush green crops.
Can this cycle work equally well for creatives?
I certainly hope so

While I know I write well and I am now again close to publication (this I know because I’ve been told it repeatedly) I also know that I can do better still if allow the process to be more organic, if I don’t force it, if I WAIT! (capitals and exclamation mark to remind myself)

I can write the way I wrote Star. You see I’d veered off into ‘clever’ writing and lost sight of storytelling. I was submitting like mad and beating myself up for not doing enough to climb the next step up into my publishing career.

I’d forgotten an essential part of the journey is the WAIT(!). I was rushing ahead, not letting good mss rest. Why? In all honesty, I didn’t want to be a one hit wonder. I suppose there’s still a chance I will be, but by waiting, I’m giving my mss the best chance to not just be good, but great and if that doesn’t equate to more books, at least I’ll know I’ve done the best I can. But with any luck, soil left fallow will become fertile ground for my imagination. For me to imagine. To play and to create. To indulge my inner child, remember why I love writing and take the pressure off. Will this result in an illusive 2022/3 book contract? Who knows? I guess I’ll just have to WAIT(!) and see. And perhaps Imagine… and dream, like I used to. . .

‘…where silence is complete, where there are no traces of light until [we] the poets hang the stars.’

Words Are Like Moles from Sister Fox’s Field Guide to the Writing Life by Jane Yolen

Have a think about where you are right now and what word/s might serve you best in 2022. If you’re inclined, I’d love go hear your word and maybe the reason for its choice in the comments below.

In the meanwhile, farewell fellow travellers,

Savour the quest,

Journeygirl

Posted in Creativity, Organisation, Professionalism, Road to Publication, Writer's Conditions | Tagged | 5 Comments