Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Pressure of the Idea

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 too 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.


  1. It seems that this summer, many others are in the same place. The waiting place. It sounds like your interest in the YA. Awesome! I am finding that my interest is shifting right now as I work on a MG ms, those ideas for PBs aren't as frequent.

    I love that a concept you've been hanging onto finally is coming together. I have one idea that I am crossing my fingers will do the same in the years to come. The timing just has to be right!

    Great post!

  2. Hey, Heather! I've been gone most of the summer here and there . . . around the Midwest. So . . . a farm organic? Are you still on the top of your mountain, or have you moved to the lowlands?

    That's cool about a possible YA book in your head and heart. What's the premise?

    Did you know I'm teaching a writing workshop for the library (Tonasket) on July 12. You should come on down and say howdy! I hardly ever get off our mountain.

    I have a contract for FOUR books for a new series for boys. I must be crazy. The pressure is on. Wish I could find a moment to get together . . . you still doing the coffee house thing in Molson?

  3. Enjoy your summer, Heather. I bet new ideas will sprout up, sort of organically, with all the nourishment you're giving your brain. (Check out my clin d'oeil! ;) ) Seriously though, I think what you're doing sounds great!!

  4. How fun to dive back into that YA project. It's good to shift gears every once in a while.