During the months of December and the January, the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, I participate in two different creative challenges. It must be my subconscious way of recharging my creative inspiration and I've come to look forward to what has been a ritual for the past 7 or 8 years. In December, it is a daily doodle (what better way to count down the days toward the holidays?!) and in January, it is Tara Lazar's "Storystorm", a month long brain storming event where the end goal is to come up with 30 ideas for a children's picture book.
I've written a few stories for children in my time, none of which ever made it past the sending-my-manuscript-to-an-editor phase, and as the years have gone by, my creative interests have taken me on other paths. Yet, this is something I return to again and again. At the beginning, it was a way of testing my fear of the blank page. Would I be able to come up with that many ideas? When I first participated, the thought seemed absurd! And yet, over that first very busy month back in 2012 when I was working full-time out at Disney, I still managed to come up with 18 ideas. Not 30, but way more than I thought I would find! And each year I find more and more ideas. It gives me faith in the wellspring!
This year includes an additional challenge from Tara:
"This STORYSTORM, I encourage you to not only create one new story idea a day, but I also challenge you to learn about your creative process. Knowing your process is an important part of this whole crazy world of writing for children. Honoring that process is what has worked for countless other writers."
So many people have asked me about my process when it comes to writing musicals (and after all my last two have been specifically performed by and for children!). It looks like a blog post on the subject is in the making...
In the meantime, my list of ideas begins today. To learn more about Storystorm and/or take the challenge yourself, visit Tara Lazar's website. You'll find a wealth of information, inspiration, tips and really fun blog posts on the subject of writing for children.