Battling the Blank (in writing)

I’ve been at this writer thing for just over two years now. First, I dabbled in picture books. Then, when Willa & the WhyNots‘s contract came around, I refocused my efforts. I’ve spent the last almost year and a half writing and crafting and worrying over Willa and the world of WhyNot. There plenty more work to do on Willa, but those picture books still call to me. And I dream of the day that I will have a pile of published stories to share with kids of all ages and their families. To chase that dream I’ve got to write and write and revise and revise and write and write (you see the pattern forming here?).

IMG_3474

Willa rewrites

BUT… I sometimes struggle with inspiration. (You’re shocked?! I know. I know. This is earth shattering stuff – bear with me). When I’m looking at a blinking line on a blank page, my mind can feel                   empty.

blank. Blank. Blank-ity BLANK.

blank. Blank. Blank-ity BLANK.

FEAR NOT, friends. I have come up with a revolutionary way to avoid this. Is a note card handy? Is your pen at the ready?   Here’s the big tip: Get the ideas first. Yep, if you sit down with an idea about what you are going to write, it goes so so so much better! If you have an actual plan, it’s even better. (Who knew?!) That’s why I’m a HUGE, HUGE fan of Tara Lazar‘s PiBoIdMo* piboidmo2014officialparticipant Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) happens every November. A month-long challenge in which you try to come up with an idea a day (at least!). It motivates me to look for the silly, the quirky, and the awesome in my everyday life. It pushes me to heed that little creative voice in my head. It makes me think like a creative person, even when I’m feeling anything but. Here’s the real beauty of this beauty – they don’t have to be good ideas. They just have to be! From experience, I can tell you that some are super duds. But some, maybe just one, tickles your fancy in that way that makes you want to write and write and revise and revise and write (there’s that pattern again). So, writers, go register. Teachers, register your class, get them all in the habit of seeing with creative eyes and listening to their inner author.  Enjoy PiBoIdMo! Here’s the link again: http://taralazar.com *Nope, I have no idea how to pronounce it.

What are your tips? How to do you battle the blankness?

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