Monday, March 13, 2023

Focusing on the making rather than on the end product ...

I had some really good news recently. I have been around the traps too long to think it a done deal at this point, but if things do go according to plan I will have not two, but three picture books coming out in the second half of this year. Huzzah!!! This has happened to me once before, in 2021 and, I have to say, it was something of a strange experience, especially in the covid era. In all honesty it went very differently to how I imagined it would. I am interested and excited to see how it goes this time. And I will tell you more when there is more to tell :-)

I have come to realise how easy it is to get suckered in to the drive/obsession to keep being published. Getting a yes is a heady hit of the feel goods and you'd have to be an automaton to not want to repeat that boost of endorphins. Then follows the desperate efforts to write the next publishable thing. Is this it? Is this it? Maybe this one will be? Or that! But this can be an unhelpful road to go down. Don't get me wrong. I definitely want to keep being published. But I find it hard to create good work when I am focusing on what a publisher might think. I can't know what they're going to think. They don't know either. Not until they think it. Making good art - whether that's a picture book, or a novel, or a poem for adults, or for children - is the goal. And good art might not only please me, it might please the publisher as well. Of course focusing on the making rather than on the end product is easier said than done and I am working on some strategies to keep the focus where it should be. I think, in part, it's about slowing down and letting things breathe a bit more.

In other news, my book with Vasanti Unka, My Elephant is Blue (Penguin, 2021), is coming out in the US on April 11th and has been accruing some State-side reviews which has been rather encouraging. There is this lovely one in Kirkus, and this one in Foreword Reviews and perhaps the loveliest one I've ever seen here at Books Worth Reading . I'm also being interviewed for an American podcast, Reading With Your Kids, which should be posted up some time around the release date. Gulp. 

I'll also be running my all day Writing Picture Books for Children workshop on Sunday April 2nd. If you, or anyone you know, is keen to get the good oil on how to get started you can find registration details here. And if you can't make it in April I will be repeating the course in August.

Right then, I'm off to work on some poems. If I make some good ones, when the opportunities arise I will have things to submit.