“You’re not really a writer, you’re an illustrator who’s just fooling everyone into thinking that you are a writer too.”
I have 4 books published, a new one coming out this year and this is still what the voice in my head keeps saying. When I was a kid I hated writing. I loved reading and I loved inventing stories in my head about the things I was drawing, but I couldn’t be a writer because I hated writing. I always wanted to make picture books but I figured someone else would come along and write the books and I would draw the pictures. I don’t know what happened to that person, but they never showed up at my door and I had to bite the bullet and figure out how to write my own books.
I don’t know how real writers write, but what usually happens to me is that an idea jumps into my brain that I can’t ignore. It might be a character or it might be a turn of a phrase or it might be a picture. I then start turning the idea around, expanding it and exploring where it might go. Sometimes the idea gets mixed in with a childhood memory or an incident that happened more recently. Sometimes it takes days or weeks of playing with it in my head before I even start writing it down but sometimes the idea is more insistent and I can’t focus on anything else until it’s done. When the idea for I HATE PICTURE BOOKS! popped up I pretty much wrote the whole thing in my head over the course of 2 days. It almost felt like I was observing this thing […]