This month I am taking part in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). I have found these pressure/challenge writing situations are good for me, because I work to deadlines – and maximise the last minute!! PiBoIdMo is not a waste of time, play-around game. My week of picture books in May, and month of poetry every January, is rich with good writing.
In November I am going to undertake another writerly challenge – this time to come up with one picture book idea every day for the month of November. I don’t have to write the PB – just imagine 30 cracker ideas. (In truth, they don’t have to be crackers, but if they’re not, I don’t want them.) I say I don’t have to write the PBs – but I suspect that will be the greatest challenge… to have an exciting idea and not write it – yet.
How do you write?
I used to feel inadequate when I heard writers say they set aside a certain number of hours each (and every) day for solid writing. When many of those same writers then questioned the dedication of others who didn’t adhere to this rigid discipline… I for one would cringe.
Because I don’t think all writers follow that set rule – and I certainly don’t. It’s not that I’m not committed. And it’s not that I don’t love my writing. It’s just that I don’t work that way.
For myself, I find the ‘real’ writing comes in waves. Sometimes my head is a swirling pool of ideas and I write and write and write – or drive everyone crazy!
Other times, I (gasp!) write nothing. I may not have the time or headspace to write. I may be caught up in other aspects of my life, like work and family. I might be trapped in the ‘business’ of writing. Sometimes I just (gulp) don’t have the ideas.
But then there are those wonderful times when the writing flows out of my fingers like a river in flood and I know that I still am a writer.
For me, writing in bursts is a case of quality verse quantity. I am at my best when my life is busiest. I find I am focused and productive. I make every moment count – every word count. Then, with my head cleared of thoughts, I have time, space and energy to devote to other important areas of my life.
And funnily enough, those ‘other areas’ are often my greatest sources of inspiration. So though I’m not writing, I’m doing research. Being inspired… Drifting with the flow… Subconsciously churning plots and plans ready to ride the next wave of creativity.
Now, I don’t force it – except when I slip up. And I don’t fight it. I’d go crazy! I know my best writing happens when I relax and enjoy the ebb-and-flow of writing.