Creativity outside the comfort zone

“Sure, I’ll do an art class with you,” I told my friend. I wasn’t expecting any actual art to come out of it, but hey, why not.

I hadn’t taken a proper art class since college. (Paint and Wine with my husband on Valentine’s Day doesn’t count. Though it was fun.) I was an art minor. There might be some germ of a molecule of art talent in there somewhere, but I knew words were my thing. That was especially obvious when I looked at my classmates’ work; if I was playing cute little melodies, art-wise, they had full orchestras going. So I had no great expectations for my art classes, but I enjoyed them. Then I graduated from college and stopped making art.

A month ago, my friend said she’d always wanted to take an art class but hadn’t done it. I shrugged and signed up with her.

It was a pastels class — a medium I’d used twice, maybe — and the instructor was great about sketching out the way to copy the chosen picture, piece by piece, with suggestions on color and type of line. And with such guidance, I got this: IMG_2372 (1)

Which isn’t bad!

The thing is, I dropped art in the first place because I was a writer, and I thought I should focus on writing. But practicing any form of creativity makes you better at being creative. Making art, or music, or writing in a different form or style might even jog you out of a creative rut, helping you to see something with a fresh eye (hey, see what I did there?).

I still don’t see myself as an artist. But remembering that I could make art, aside from the various works-in-progress in my notebooks, was actually pretty empowering.

My friend and I had a fine time and are already discussing which class to take next. I can’t wait.




Submission Tips for the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature Conference

Excellent kidlit writer Tara Lazar offers excellent tips on submitting for the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature Conference. I’m submitting, are you?

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

2016 RUCCL Mentors


If you’re submitting to RUCCL One-on-One Plus Conference, please know…

The manuscript’s the thing.

If you send your submission to the wrong address, don’t worry, we’ll get it to the right place.

If you forget to send a check, don’t worry, we’ll get in touch.

If you somehow mess up the instructions, don’t worry. It’s OK. We are not here to impose penalties on you. We want you to get in, we really do! We read each manuscript thoroughly and determine its merits. There are no red marks on your paper or strikes against you. We strive to look for the positive in every submission we receive.

If you get in, rejoice! It means the reading team liked your submission AND we had a mentor to pair you with. Sometimes we have more mentors for YA than picture books, or more for MG than non-fiction…

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