Hello 2018! Where have you gone already? I told myself 2018 would be full of writing, and it’s already March and this is my first post of the year. (There has actually been lots of writing going on over here, just not much anyone else has seen but me. This post was originally dated February 9, yiikes! Time flies in the blink of an eye.)
Tara Lazar’s Storystorm! 30 days of an incredible almost literal storm of idea inspiration and writing techniques to jumpstart my writing creativity. 30 days in a row of writing! Sarah 2017 would’ve never thought I could manage writing every single day, but that’s what I did every day in January. And while most of those 30 ideas are total garbage, a handful of them are in the works for picture book manuscripts this year. Yeah!!
12 x 12 Challenge! January meant the 12 x 12 challenge registration opened, a kidlit community I waited almost all of 2017 to join, since I found out about it when registration had already closed. This is a challenge of writing 12 manuscripts in 12 months! What?! How would that be possible?! Sarah 2017 spent all of last year writing and re-writing “Wake Up, Little Bat!”, then barely managed to squeeze out a couple of half-finished stories the rest of the year. The motivation was there, but where would I find the time? Answer: there is always a way to make time for your passions, especially with this the community of supportive kidlit writers. I even found a critique group of author/illustrators to bounce my stories and drawings off of- score!
I got back on track with Little Bat! The truth is, it’s been one heck of a challenge! I knew I wanted 2018 to be my year for stepping up my writing game, but life happens and things never go as planned. Things like a husband breaking his leg smack in the middle of the holiday season. Then a double whammy of me getting so sick, not once but TWICE, while picking up the slack of daily life x 2 while the husband was on the mend. Whew! Once I recovered, and the husband was able to walk without crutches and drive on his own, it was time to really buckle down and get serious about Little Bat. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far, but by the end of March, Little Bat full color illustrations will be FINISHED, and I will be the happiest girl on the block. Happy dance on hold until the end of this month.
L.A. Writer’s Day and filling my creative cup! This was my second time attending the local conference at the Skirball Center, and my first time pitching to an agent. The talks were inspiring, and speaking to other children’s books writers was so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed Fiona Kenshole's keynote talk and breakout sessions, (especially with her British accent) and Bethany Barton's sense of humor and tips on social media for authors and illustrators The best part about this day was connecting with other incredibly supportive local writers. I now officially have an in-person writing group that meets at one of my favorite neighborhood cafes. When we put ourselves out there and align ourselves with what we feel we're meant to be doing, really great things happen. And I am so grateful.
The beginning of 2018 really threw me for a loop and feeling a little out of whack is a bit of an understatement. The anxiety really built up when I felt the productivity time going down the drain. But I realized there were other pockets of time I could also take advantage of while I wasn’t at home on nurse duty. Lunches on my office work days were split into mini-writing sessions. And I traded late night TV time into illustration hour, even if it was less than an hour after a long work day. When you really don’t have any spare time, even half an hour moves you forward.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned through all of this, is to be kinder to myself. I will always have some looming deadline or a pile of dishes in the sink, or an idea I’ve been dying to turn into a story, but no time to get to. And that’s ok. I can’t do it all, and I don’t want to drive myself crazy trying to.
Listening to podcasts have also kept me sane during this time. Not only creative motivational ones, but stories I can escape with also. Here are a few that get me through my long drives to work and moments when my creative cup is sitting a little low:
Don’t Keep Your Day Job with Cathy Heller (my creative savior and inspiration pitcher filling my creative cup every single week, including the inspirational quotes on my IG sketches. Check out the episode from February 5- How Everything is Possible with Shelli Varela. You will burst from inspiration and all the feels.)
Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert (Elizabeth Gilbert has written several acclaimed books including Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic. I love listening to her podcast while I color Little Bat. Listening to her reach out to artists in need of getting over their creative hump, and helping them with her talks with other equally inspiration artists and speakers really keeps the creative energy flowing.)
This American Life (slices of life ranging from intriguing, emotional, controversial and just plain entertaining)
Radiolab (It's been a while since I've listened to this, but there's always something interesting and fun to learn about the world around us with every episode.)
My Favorite Murder (This was my guilty pleasure for a hot minute, until there were later nights alone with Peanut before the hubs got home for work. That and this girl’s most active imagination make for the worse combo, but maybe good writing material for a kidnapping or murder mystery? I’d rather not find out)
Do you have a favorite inspirational podcasts to keep the motivation high? Or an entertaining one to pass the time on your long commutes? Share them here!
Next up on the blog, my favorite motivations audiobooks for April. Or, more realistically, I’ll be back in June for a super fun re-cap blog post from my vacation to Japan in April. Let’s not forget, March is the home stretch for Little Bat!
Here you'll find...
my thoughts, and hopefully a spark of inspiration. Enjoy!