By Francine Puckly
It’s one thing to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic and quite another if we were to have done this on the famous Stella Polaris in its heyday or perhaps today on the Seven Seas Mariner. Instead of a futile exercise, you’re grabbing a new perspective on an already-amazing creative journey.
I returned last night from the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City. I spent four long, sleep-deprived days listening to inspirational lectures by authors, illustrators, agents and publishers about the fabulous things happening in children’s publishing, brainstorming ideas with colleagues for our personal projects as well as the efforts of our writing organization, and reconnecting with old friends and making new ones over mugs of tea and glasses of wine.
This morning I pondered those nuggets of hope and inspiration I acquired over the weekend while I sipped my cup of tea. Then I rearranged my writing world. I moved my writing desk from a snow-blocked window to one that provided a different view, I deleted the first two chapters of my novel to leave room for a new perspective, and I wrote down the first five things I wanted to change this week. New views. New perspectives. New energy. And with renewed focus, I began to write and tackle those goals.
What did I learn this weekend? I learned to listen to others and allow them to fill my well. I learned that it’s critical to network and meet new people with new ideas. I realized that no matter how hard it is to budget for workshops and leave my family behind, it’s essential to invest in education. And I found out it’s necessary to put my refreshed mind to work immediately before losing the positive influences.
Even though you might not have gone away for the weekend, take some time today to look at what feels too familiar or no longer provides the inspiration it once had. Rearrange a few deck chairs. Make a quick list of things you can refresh right now. It might be as small as purchasing a new journal and indexing the pages as Laura Vaccaro Seeger does to keep track of her ideas, registering for a class or workshop that you didn’t think you could justify, or merely moving a desk to a new room or window to watch the birds or falling snow. Once you’ve done that, take out your favorite pen or brush and add some splash to your project.
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