Sometimes no matter what we do we get into a slump. Everything we try to write or do is just not achieving the level that we want to strive for. Here are some quick tips for things I do when I know my writing isn't bright and shiny.
1) I go to the library. There I gather up at least 30 of my favorite children's books and just soak them up. I read them. I look at the pictures. I think about how I felt when I read them for the first time. I can smell my mother's new just-washed dress when she snuggled next to me and read the words that I still couldn't read myself. That was over half a century ago. It seems like yesterday.
2) I go to the art gallery. There's something about looking at art that always triggers my mind in new ways. I stare at the paintings. I try to emerse myself in what I think the artist was thinking or feeling when he or she created the painting. I love art.
3) I go to the bookstore. There I wander in the stacks looking at all my old favorites but picking up bright, shiny, new works from children's writers I've never heard of. I remember when I first picked up Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. I knew it would be a best-seller when I read it. I like being right about things like that.
4) I bake something new. I go on Pinterest or look at my cookbooks and find something I've always wanted to try. I go to the grocery and buy all the needed items. Then I go home and bake and smell all the soothing, warm, rich smells that tell me that what I baked won't last very long once it's put out on the table. There's something very therapeutic about baking.
5) I cut pictures out of magazines. I take a stack of old magazines and start cutting out pictures to make a collage. They can be pictures of anything I like but sometimes I notice that they're coming together to make some still unwritten story. It's fun to use visuals to prompt story ideas.
6) I review the art portfolios of children's artists. I frequently look through art that illustrators I've worked with have prepared but I also peruse the work of new artists, especially those I'd like to work with someday.
Do you have a special tip for jump starting your children's writing creativity? If so, please share it with me so I can include it in this column.