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Writing picture books

As a follow-up to my writing post the other day, I thought I'd report on what I've managed so far this week. (It's not to brag, I assure you, but to keep myself honest.)

As of Monday, I set the task for myself of writing a new picture book draft every day in order to get over my treating the process as a bit too "precious". I've had a number of ideas knocking around, some for years, that I've never undertaken because the spirit just wasn't moving me, or I thought the whole thing seemed a bit too difficult. What if I couldn't get it right? What if I couldn't pull it off?

And you know what? If you don't sit your butt down and try, you can neither get it right nor get it written. And by "you," I mean me, although for all I know, it applies to others as well. (I suspect it does, since this sort of feeling/conversation is quite familiar in writing circles.)

On Monday, I did a draft of a picture book about a mole. I am actually really excited about it, although it isn't right, but I am looking forward to revising it. On Tuesday, I did a draft of a Christmas-related picture book, which pretty much blows. Or sucks. Pick your favorite vacuum function, I guess. But. It might actually turn out to be something anyhow with enough time and attempts. So it's not a complete loss. And even if it is a complete loss, I am okay with that. Yesterday, I took a single stanza I wrote during Picture Book Idea Month for a different Christmas-themed picture book and wrote the rest of the manuscript. And it needs a bit of polish, but it's nearly ready to send to my first readers.

Today, I am stalling by writing this here blog post. I have written today's poem in my poetry diary -- a tribute to Maya Angelou -- and now I have to write a draft of a new picture book. And I'm not sure what to write about, although I have a character name I'm dying to use, so there's that. I'd love to blame it on the prep work I've been doing for the New Jersey SCBWI Conference at the end of June, where I'm presenting two poetry-related sessions (though the first one is for non-poets, too), but that would probably be a cop-out, right? Right.

This is me, getting to work. And hoping that your work is going really well, and more smoothly and more inspired than mine is today.




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