I want to quickly pass on a couple of great tips I picked up at the SCBWI conference over the weekend (and take the chance to show you a couple of the sketches I did on my way there).
We were at the same hotel for 3 days, so had dinner together each night, along with other folks like David Bedford, Joan Lennon and Alan Durant. That's one of the lovely things about the NCBF: you catch up with people you've not seen in ages and keep adding new friends each year.
Tim and I got on like a house on fire, so I was especially pleased to run into him a few days later at the conference. He was giving a talk on how his book ideas evolve.
He's an understated, but very funny guy, and the talk was really interesting. We all did lots of giggling and one of many things that amused us was when Tim shared a bit of his working practice: every day, before he starts work, he turns up the music good and loud, and spends a whole hour dancing around the studio, all by himself! This is an illustration from his gorgeous book Here Comes Frankie!, that seems rather apt...
So anyway, yesterday, after I had waded through my back e-mails for the week I've been away, I decided to try it. I couldn't afford an hour, as it was already about 11 o'clock, but I jumped and bopped for a good 10 minutes, and found that Tim's right: it's really good for clearing your head.
Out of breath and slightly sweaty (must get more exercise...) I starting in on the re-planning I need to do for a text that's been buzzing around for a while. Gullane are showing initial signs of interest, but are right that the idea needs some re-thinking.
I also tried out a new, 'big-paper-ideas-map' technique that I picked up at the conference from Marcus Sedgwick. It's a way of tugging as many relevant thoughts from your head as possible and then marshalling them in some semblance of order. I usually just sit at the computer and write, so this is a new method and, so far, it does seem to help.
Thanks Marcus! Thanks Tim!