Sunday, 15 February 2015

The art of compartmentalisation

I've been reading a writing guide that I found in a second-hand book shop. It's called, 'Writing begins with the breath,' by American writer, Laraine Herring. It caught my attention for two reasons.






Firstly, it explores how both your mind and body are more disposed towards writing through the practice of yoga. As a trained yoga teacher, this immediately appealed. Hurrah! I thought. A short-cut to the muse! And secondly, naturally, it's a book about how to write.

Hurrah! I thought. A short-cut to the muse!

I mentioned last week how Nick Cross talks on his blog about suffering from 'outcome-focus.' And it just so happens, that Laraine Herring – a creative writing lecturer -  talks precisely about this enthusiasm of her students to find out all about agents and publishing deals, way before they've actually sat down and written anything worthy of submission.

The irony of reading about people like me, in a 'how to write' book – rather than sitting down and writing, is not lost. Then there are all the books to read written by great children's authors. The stellar stories of their success. And competition deadlines to line up like rubber ducks. These activities are all undeniably valid and useful, inspiring and informative, but they don't get me any closer to sitting down and writing my own stuff.

The irony of reading about people like me, in a 'how to write' book – rather than sitting down and writing, is not lost

This is where I need a brain that can switch between actions and thoughts, with no bleed and contamination in between. Because reading around the act of writing IS good for the creative spirit and mind – just not so good if it out-shadows the actual knuckling down to JFDI (a short and sweetened version).

One thing I am actively doing, is writing three Morning Pages, every day. This is a long-hand, stream of consciousness writing recommended by another American writer, Julia Cameron. Morning Pages are a clearing process, a way to not only set out your intentions of the day, with the understanding that if you've written them down they will be all the more easy to fulfill – but also as a way to unravel hidden thoughts and dilemmas. I've kept this up every day of 2015, not always in the morning, but it has acted as a life-line in terms of my writing. I might write the biggest load of drivel, but it has also produced some small shiny gems that I never knew were there.

I might write the biggest load of drivel, but it has also produced some small shiny gems that I never knew were there

On a continued procrastinating note, this is what I unearthed when I googled: 'What's happening in the world of children's Books 2015.' I discovered a veritable treasure trove.

First off was the Guardian's Literary Calendar for Children's Books, in which I found two book awards voted for entirely by children:

21st February Red House Children's Book Award 

4th March Scottish Children's book award winners announced

Other highlights include:

17th March Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards shortlists announced

21-29th March The Oxford Literary Festival, which includes events for children & young adults (and equally relevant, I imagine, to anyone interested in writing for these age groups). There is an incredibly rich selection of authors from Paul Stickland, Cressida Cowell, Anthony Browne, Steve Cole, Sally Nicholls, to Philip Pullman, Adele Geras, Judith Kerr, Frank Cottrell Boyce – to name but a few

24 – 29th March The Cardiff Children's Literature Festival

With this month's theme on W&P being Going Global, the following links also caught my eye:

World Book Day coming up on the 5th March

2nd April The International Children's Book Day Apparently, 2nd April is Hans Christian Andersen's birthday and since 1967 International Children's Book Day has been celebrating children's books on or around this date. Each year is sponsored by a different member of the International Board on Books for Young People. The country chosen decides on a theme, and invites an author of their nationality to write a message to the children of the world, together with a poster designed by a well-known illustrator. Last year's theme was Imagine Nations Through Story - sponsored by Ireland, and Siobhán Parkinson, former Children's Laureate of Ireland

From here I followed a link to Global Dimension, an incredible resource for finding children's books that deal with global issues – for example: books that children can read to breed tolerance following the terrorist attacks in Paris, world stories, and Good Reads' Top Children's/YA Books set in Africa

24th April  Yay! YA! A festival celebrating the Teenage Reads Scene of Scotland

Plenty on which to feast your procrastinating eyes!


NB: The photo above is Pen-y-fan - the mountain I successfully found and climbed on Thursday (following a failed attempt 3 weeks ago). A healthy example of compartmentalisation - how to fixate on climbing said mountain, and JFDI.


Don't forget:

Monday's post from Jenn with top tips for attendees of the London Book Fair on the 13th - 19th April
Tuesday's passion and edginess in Nick's pick of the blogs
Wednesday looked at the UKYA Extravaganza coming up on the 28th February
Saturday brought a Valentine's celebration for Sam Zuppardi's illustrations in picture book 'Nobody's Perfect,' by David Elliott






Nancy Saunders is the new Editor of W&P. You can find some of her short stories here, and on Twitter @nancyesaunders

1 comment:

  1. In lieu of yoga, walking the dog clears my head of FB, Twitter (and, dare I say it, daily dip into W&P) all of which significant parts of my personal procrastination ritual.

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