- Pause ~ Find moments throughout the day to pause and appreciate what I am writing, drawing or painting.
- Let Go ~ Begin the day with yoga and a brief meditation to let go of all the to-do lists that begin making themselves as soon as I wake. They will return. they always do.
- Morning is my best time for work~ Clear mornings for writing, sketching, painting.
- Write and draw/paint on ideas that do not have a deadline~ I am a very fortunate illustrator with manuscripts to illustrate on contract for the next several years. I love having a deadline to work with, like all of my fellow potatoes, the deadline spurs me on. But giving time to stories and pictures without deadlines adds excitement and adventure to my studio life!
- Connect with those who believe in me~ I am very fortunate to be working with an editor who believes in me. I am still not clear how it all happened. When I sent her a dark, scary first interpretation of the story SCARECROW years ago, she didn't throw out the contract, though I think everyone at Harcourt was urging her to. Instead, she gave me more time. Her patience and belief in me gave me courage. I also have an artist/composer/writer husband who is intimate with my creative process from the ecstatic successes to the weepy failures, and still he believes in me. And friends. I have cultivated many artist/author friends to share work and life with, all of whom are essential for my best work.
- Read ~ Make time for reading. Picture Books, Chapter Books, Adult fiction and Non. Make a pile of my favorite reads nearby so I can refer to them when inspiration is needed.
- Walks ~ A daily walk loosens my cluttered mind and if I open my eyes, something is bound to inspire me.
- Take Time Off ~ I have a too-strong work ethic. If I am not busy on some task, I feel worthless. Having sat around the house for the past two weeks, reading, watching movies, looking through poetry and art books, and sleeping, I am convinced that time off from everything is essential to doing my best work.
Ten writers for children. All with something to say.
Ideal Conditions for My Best Work?
For the past two weeks I have been down with the flu. I would not normally recommend the flu as conducive to ideal conditions for one's best work, but the mandatory stillness of sickness forced me to take time and reflect on the past 6 to 8 months of my creative life. Though creative with plenty of out-put, I would not label the past 6-8 months "ideal conditions." I was too often racing from one deadline to the next, saying "yes" to too many things, and working 10 to 12 hour days. Now that I am returning to health, I am purposefully nurturing the ideal conditions for my best work: