I had intended to post something in September to coincide with International Dot Day, but life had other plans (most notably, a fried computer -- note to all: BACK UP YOUR FILES!). I spent much of October figuring out how to use a new computer and catching up on missed writing-related stuff. Now it’s November already! Sometimes when I’m hit with curve balls like this, I can fall into a rut. Luckily, life can also provide inspiration, even in trying times. Here are some ways I became inspired this fall, thanks to help from a few friends:
I discovered this picture book in 2011 and it immediately struck a chord. If you read my earlier journal entries, you will know that I have been hearing little whispers for a long time urging me to write picture books AND about my Christmas book-giving tradition. It wasn’t until 2011 that I began to pursue my dream seriously, so when I found this book I knew it was the one that my husband would receive for Christmas that year. I wanted to thank him for supporting me while I saw where my dot took me. Some days my dot turns into a line or a squiggle or a word, sometimes a character name or book title, sometimes a line of dialogue or scene. Though sparks of creativity strike me on any given day, I love the idea of one special day celebrated annually around the world to celebrate inspiration, creativity and courage. So, International Dot Day helped give me a little boost of inspiration even without a functioning computer. Thank goodness for the good ole pen and paper!
November: In 2009 Tara Lazar hosted a blog challenge called Picture Book Idea Month with the idea that participants come up with one picture book idea for each day in November, and she ‘s been hosting it annually ever since. I first heard about PiBoIdMo last year and thought it sounded like fun. Coming up with new ideas is not what I would call my weakness, but I like a good challenge and I wanted to see if I could come up with 30 in a month. I was also hoping I could come up with a better way of organizing my ideas so I could actually find them and do something with them (like actually turn them into stories – THAT is my weakness!). Not only did I meet my goals, I was inspired in new ways. At the end of November, I had a pretty notebook (my craftiness strikes again – any excuse to use a pretty piece of fabric!), filled with 30 picture book ideas plus a chapter book idea, all organized and ready to (potentially) be turned into books. Every day Tara had kid lit folks post blogs that inspired me to think out of the box, write a fractured fairy tale, come up with a mash-up title, jog my memory, access my inner child, sit down and write, color, doodle, brainstorm, create an “idea generator,” make a story board, observe children at play, eavesdrop, go for a walk, and play, among other things. I learned that not all of these ideas will necessarily become books, but they could. I learned about other challenges to help turn these ideas into stories and that would help me become a better reader and writer. I learned about other kid lit groups, classes, workshops, and more.
Now it’s November again and I’m armed with a new pretty notebook, ready to be inspired with at least 30 new picture book ideas for PiBoIdMo 2015. I'm not sure where the marks in my notebook will take me, but I'm excited to find out!
Heather is a busy wife and mom of five rambunctious children and one lovable pup They all provide lots of distractions, but oodles of inspiration. Sometimes the pictures and ideas in her head turn into her own children's stories, but she always makes time to read other people's books. Sometimes she reviews them here.