What If I Don't Feel It

This year, I am part of a wonderful community called 12x12 for Picture Book Writers. The premise is simple: write a new picture book draft each month for 12 months. I am entering my third month, and I have found it to be a wonderful group of writers. One thing that I learned the past month, in February, is that it is hard for me to "force" a story out. Let me explain. All of my previous picture book manuscripts that are good, I mean good enough to eventually be queried to agents, have all come from 'inspiration" for lack of better word.

These are the stories that seem to come from somewhere special that jump out of me. I feel like I have to write it, or I go crazy think about it. I have a whole analogy about a stomach flu, but I will spare you of it. So in January, I had one of those story ideas. It came to me. I felt that excitement, and I wrote it. But in February, I never got that feeling. I waited and waited. I looked through my giant master list of story ideas but nothing "grabbed me". So I thought of an idea that I found funny and gave it my best shot. While the feedback was positive, I know it is lacking that "zing" that makes a story special.

So that is the problem.  I love 12x12. It is amazing and worth every penny I spent to get involved. But what do I do if I don't feel inspired? My answer was simple. I just write. No matter if the outcome is amazing or just "ok" you always learn from your writing.

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James Arthur

A children's picture book writer who lives in Texas with his wife and daughter. James lived in Taiwan for two years where he taught English and wrote stories for an international children's magazine.


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