Picture Book Marathon- Day 19

Well, I've got 10 days to go, and I've got 10 partial or completed drafts done. I doubt I'm going to hit 26, which seems sort of insane to me, frankly ;) , but I'll easily hit 13, even if I take the time to go back and wrap up the first drafts for stuff I couldn't really round out in one go.

That's probably the most difficult part- if you've only got 2 hours to knock something out, I'm finding one tends to default to cliches in terms of plot, OR I find myself writing fun, playful, concept books that don't rely on plot or character motivation, but are really more tone poems. Not that I don't like tone poems. It's just not the only kind of experience I'm interested in creating. I also have noticed I'm defaulting to prose more often too, although I did get a wonderfully fun rhyming first draft of "My Tennis Shoes Have Got the Blues" written out, so there's some production in that field.

But, yes, if I'm writing something with plot, it's very hard to get that done in 2 hours. I find what's happening is I can lay out the setting, introduce the main characters, build the basic tension, and ... that's where the hard part comes. Because, IMO, for plot to be interesting, something really needs to _happen_, the character really needs to _change_, he needs to be _active_, so that, when you get to the end, you feel like character development and plot development are inter-related. Well, that's easier said than done. Or atleast it's so for me. I've always been best at moments, at poems, and always rather frustrated by plots, and impressed with those who can write them. It is not my forte.

Given that, I've just allowed reality to sit in, which means that it's just not always possible to get a draft done each day. I am, however, making writing more of a priority, so I think that really shows what can be done if one puts ones mind to it. There's been more than one time when I thought I'd like to veg out, or read a book, etc. but I said, "No, I'm supposed to be writing. It's important to me, right?" And by God, I actually sat down and wrote! LOL.

I think it helps that I've enrolled Kat into it as well. I've asked for her help in carving out some real blocks on the weekends, and occasionally on the weeknights. Thus, when I have time, she's often asking me if I'm going to be sitting down and writing. Once, she set aside some time and took care of Tasha. I sat upstairs and putzed. When she came up, she had presumed I'd be writing, and I honestly felt a little guilty. I've set up a bit of an expectation that this was important to me, and here she was, helping, and I wasn't taking advantage of it. So, it's good to have someone on your side, prodding you a bit. :)

Whatever the case, I'm definitely writing more recently than I have in a while. I've even found I'm writing more in general-- not just PB's. Over the last month or two I've started dictating poems to myself using my bluetooth headset and my Iphone, while driving to or from a job. Today, I played hookey from PB's, and used my time to finally pound out some drafts of those poems as well, which felt really good. The count? I didn't count exactly, but it must be about 10 since mid-December, and half since the beginning of this month-- a very good number for me.

What this has really got me thinking about is drawing and painting, and really working on my portfolio. It would be nice if I could somehow apply this discipline between the two activities (writing and painting), and still get something done. Probably one of the issues is that I'm not just wanting to illustrate and write picture books. I've got poems in my head, and I want to do more abstract watercolors as well. That was terribly fun to step back in to during the XMas season, and I don't want to lose that.

I know some people think you should winnow it down and pick those things you want to focus on, but I've not agreed with that approach for a long time. This is it, right? Either you're going to do, or you're not.