“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
As in childhood most of us tend to approach games and new endeavors with “Get ready. Get set. Go!” But when it comes to writing “getting ready” and “getting set” can easily become a quagmire of avoidance that brings us to a stop.
“One never knows what one is going to do. One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite different.” Picasso
Write. Doodle with words and ideas. Write without clinging to previous ideas. Write to discover what the writing reveals. Write without fearing a finish line. Write with the playful flow of Bidemmi in Vera Williams’ CHERRIES AND CHERRY PITS. How many stories can grow from a single cherry pit? More and more and more and more.
And Keep Going…
At the “Go!” stage of writing picture books there are no mistakes. Surprises and frustrations, yes. But these offer more opportunities. REGINA’S BIG MISTAKE by Marissa Moss shares this truth as a picture book. The class assignment is to draw a picture of the jungle. As she draws the sun Regina’s crayon slips. It’s ruined! Not true. Her ability to keep going, to keep imagining allows her to created something unique. Everyone else draws the jungle in daylight. Regina’s ruined sun becomes the perfect moon for her distinctive picture of the jungle at night.
Just like Aesop’s tortoise wins the race through ongoing action, picture books are created in the “Go!” of writing.
CHERRIES AND CHERRY PITS by Vera Williams. Greenwillow, 1986.
REGINA’S BIG MISTAKE by Marissa Moss. Houghton, 1990.