So far, my summer has been a whirlwind. Teacher's summer: taking care of the million things that you didn't have time for during the school year.
Aside from a plethora of doctor's appointments, errands, chores, cleaning and such, I am immersing myself in writing this summer.
I am taking an online course from the Children's Book Academy called The Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books. A week in, I am finding it very helpful, especially the small critique group within the course.
But I am also finding that simply having time to think is what I have needed. I've read a number of quotes and memes about writers writing in their heads at all times, no matter if they are taking out the trash or soaking up sun on a beach. I can see truth in those quotes and memes.
More importantly, I think time to be and to think without dashing, harried, from one must-do to the next loosens up the brain and (after some decompression time) lets the creative thoughts begin to flow.
My brain loosened up enough to make a decision on a topic that was bothering me: where to go next with my writing. The picture book market today is dominated by (very) short, quirky, fun books that each have a unique flavor or selling point to them, whether that is the structure of the book, the memorability of the character or the concept or art.
I don't have a manuscript like that. I don't have a concept like that (yet). Moreover, as a teacher, I am drawn to, and need in our classrooms, longer picture books that may deal with some deeper topics and issues.
Do I spend the next few weeks coming up with and working on a short, quirky, fun concept? Or do I keep working on the manuscripts that I have already started even though they don't match the majority of today's picture book market? One manuscript is about ready to send back in. Another I have started is a more introspective character driven story. Another that is ready for a critique group is a quieter tale with repetitive language.
Decision: Since these are stories I can't get out of my head, I devote time to them right now.
There's plenty of time for that short, quirky, fun concept after that. The beach sounds good . . .