You can make a difference with your book! I attended the Packaging Your Imagination conference for children’s writers and illustrators in Toronto on the weekend. One of our inspirational keynote speakers was Ruth Ohi the illustrator of some 60 children’s books and the author of two dozen more. She wanted us to know books can truly make a difference to children. They can put kids in a happy comfortable place and make them understand that their ideas matter. Books can help children feel respected and good about themselves.
Ruth also gave us plenty of great advice about writing and illustrating books for children. I think however that her ideas could apply to anyone who is tackling a creative project. Here’s a top ten list I compiled from her talk.
- Take chances
- You must care deeply about what you are doing
- When you are stalled in the creative process do something physical like going for a walk or cleaning your house. You get your best ideas when you aren’t thinking too hard. Sometimes it also helps to change up your venue. Ruth likes to leave home and go and write and draw in libraries.
- You don’t have to be perfect and amazing all the time.
- Get used to rejection. Even a successful author like Ruth gets tons of rejections.
- Don’t throw anything out. Little sketches, little bits of writing, notes you’ve made may prove valuable later on.
- It helps to have a partner who is supportive. Ruth’s husband is her rock, her touchstone and her inspiration.
- You often have to do a pile of awful stuff before you get to the good stuff.
- Don’t get overwhelmed by social media – find time to create.
- Make sure you are having fun. That’s what it’s all about.
Ruth was so full of energy and excitement and enthusiasm about being a writer and illustrator and the whole creative process that entails. She was the perfect person to kick off the conference.