FROM THE EDITORS Happy new year



Here we go again, another year is upon us which means another year of same old. Perhaps it is time to go against your own grain and make it a genuinely new year. Hopefully “happy” will follow. Words & Pictures Editor Gulfem Wormald reflects on the year past and the year to come.


Happy new year to you all. And when I say happy new year, I am wishing you a “happy” and a “new” year. If you have been feeling a little stuck with your storytelling and/or illustrations last year, here is a new year that may present new opportunities, if you’d like to take them. That means, you may have to approach your creative side a little differently this year.


My plan is to focus on self-discovery and my enemy is the comfort zone. Whether everything was tickety-boo for you, or you couldn’t wait to see the end of 2023, I suggest we start this new year with an intention to get out of our comfort zones, try new things out, have new experiences and dig deep down to who we are and what we want from this year.


I have been thinking a lot about “the voice” recently. Some of us struggle with having “our voice” in the stories we write. And sometimes, when we re-read a first or second draft of what sounded like a great idea at the time, it feels dull, tired and most importantly unoriginal. I am wondering if it may be because there are a ton of things that we haven’t discovered about ourselves yet and that’s why something is missing in our work – let it be written or illustrated. Afterall, how can we write a cracking story when our own story is full of cracks?


We are all so amazing individuals. Our safety zones may be the barless prison cell that we voluntarily place ourselves in. I suggest this year, while exploring new story/or and illustration ideas, lets also explore who we truly are (breaking news! we are not the same person we were a year ago or even a month ago). I am wondering how many of you will discover something about yourself that will transform your work into something so much more authentic.


SCBWI is planning several workshops you can attend this year. There are retreats, short or long term courses, critique groups you can join. Try not to limit yourself to some obvious activities like writing workshops though. I have started training with a Tai Chi master a few weeks ago for example. It has helped me really be in the present and pay great attention to my body and mind as well as my surroundings. Try a few things you never thought of before or have a go at that thing you’ve been meaning to do for ages. See if new experiences wipe your mind’s lenses clean so you can see more clearly. Allow yourself to keep an open mind and be prepared to re-write your story – literally and metaphorically. Happy new year!





Gulfem Wormald is the Editor of Words & Pictures -

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