Friday, July 22, 2011

Click here to see imagination at work. Watch the video of children reading this new picture book by Herve Tullet (Chronicle Books).

It'll make you smile.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Creative Distraction

Everyone has heard about writer's block.  I always imagined writer's block as the dilemma of staring at the blank page without a clue of what to write. According to that definition, I am a stranger to writer's block. My brain is always swimming with another idea. However, I do know something of creative block--that insane and maddening sense that however brilliant the idea, I lack the creativity to get the story told in a brilliant way. Does it need to be brilliant? Probably not. Do I want it to be? Truthfully, yes.

As a writer, I have the most demanding boss in the world. Myself. And I recently discovered the secret to busting creative block.

Creative distraction.

What do we write about anyway? Fiction writers may create their own plots, characters, and even settings, but they create them from life. So, I recently decided to give the laptop and a particular fantasy novel a rest while I pursued some creative distraction. Yes, I even ignored my goal to write to a word count for an entire week. It's amazing how a new goal, with an entirely different creative focus, has the power to free up those brain cells. I decided I hadn't spent enough time with the piano in...well...years.  And I found a song, a fairly challenging one for me, that I wanted to learn to play.  Play well.  Memorized.

I found a refreshing enthusiasm for accomplishing hard things by spending a few rigorous hours practicing the piano--a few rigorous hours for a few days. And I also took time to make S'mores over a bonfire, watch the sunset, and have a "Just Dance" competition with over twenty people in my basement. When I returned to my writing, I found two more ideas for picture book manuscripts waiting in the now relaxed creative corners of my brain.  I found the solutions to the problems I was having with a work in progress and I prepared three manuscripts for submission.

The ideas and the answers are in there. Sometimes, a creative distraction is needed to allow them to break free. And, in case you were wondering about that piano piece--"Dancing on the Berlin Wall" by David Lanz.