In the past few weeks I have done a lot of things. I've weeded acres of garlic. I've thinned apple trees. Planted a garden. Run in a race and took first place. (It was a small race... very small. Don't be too impressed.) I've gone on long, lingering bike rides, been to the lake and had a run in with some leeches, read books in the sun. I've filled out a long, confusing application to get our farms certified organic. I've agreed to buy a rundown cabin. I've helped an art client get her social media up and running. I even dug out an old young adult novel I wrote a couple of years ago and started revisions.
One thing I haven't done? Come up with a new picture book idea. Why? Well, I like to think that my brain has been to busy doing all of these other things. On the one hand it bugs me. Why haven't I had an idea? I'm always full of ideas. On the other hand I wonder why I think I need a new idea. I have a bajillion in the filing cabinet, and many more lying around here and there. Really, I need more? Well, yeah. Of course I do! You never know when one will be great.
I do think that sometimes we picture book writers can put a lot of pressure on the idea and forget that the follow through is just as important. And honestly, for me, sometimes my ideas just need to sit a while until I figure them out. I recently finally finished a book whose concept I came up with at least a couple of years ago. I adored the concept but couldn't make it work. When I pulled the manuscript out a couple of months ago I finally figured out how the story needed to play out. It's nothing like what I had come up with at first save one major (and crazy!) plot detail. It's such a better story now and I believe it's ready to face the world.
So, I need to not worry. I know more picture book ideas will come eventually. They always do. I have plenty of other things to work on. And maybe with some focus I could even finish that YA. Now wouldn't that be something.