It’s always a thrill for me to bring authors onto my blog who I read even before I had any thought of writing for children myself. Carmela LaVigna Coyle is one of those authors. Imagine my delight when out of the blue one day she not only signed up as a 12 x 12 participant, but also agreed to be a featured author!
We moved to Colorado in the Spring, my daughter having recently turned 2. In our new beautiful setting, I wanted to foster a love of the outdoors and physical activity with my daughter. Enter the book, DO PRINCESSES WEAR HIKING BOOTS? Happily, this book also coincided with the beginning of her “princess” stage. We must have read this book every day for a year, I kid you not. Then we followed up with the next book in the series, and the next…
I love these books because they are about regular girls – the ones we love day in and day out and who are the real princesses of the world.
This post includes an extra treat that is a part of a balanced diet for any serious writer — chocolate!
Please welcome Carmela!
Do Princesses Putter?
There are unstated benefits to writing stories for very young children. Unpretentious, uncomplicated benefits that could easily be written, directed, and produced by a four-year-old. Tried and true. Like wearing pajama’s all day, even when you’re not sick, especially when you’re not sick. And naptime. And cookies at 4 o’clock with a cup of milk. Jumping jacks. And puttering around the house with, or without purpose.
Besides being one of the best jobs in the world, writing full time (or even part-time) for the two to six-year-old crowd can be exhilarating and exhausting, i.e. the PJ’s. On good days, ideas flood the plains of ordinary thinking. And we are poetically prolific. But if you’re like most writers, some days, those once robust waters recede, or worse, dry up. Comedian/Writer John Rodgers said “You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” To which I reply, “Ha-ha-ha, you need to putter, mon!”
Puttering is underestimated. Putter. Putter. Putter. Puttering is the reason I have perfected drinking chocolate, (for which my family adores me.) One bleary March afternoon, I was stuck, really stuck on a rhyming couplet for my third Princess book, Do Princesses Scrape Their Knees? It had to involve chocolate, somehow. I was antsy and lethargic. My thoughts wandered to a very harmless cup of home-made cocoa (a-hum, theobromine) for inspiration. Certainly princesses drink cocoa. Eventually, the medium-dark brew spun to the deeper side of bittersweet. At last, after the addition of more unsweetened chocolate shavings, and more vanilla, I had one wicked (mooo-haha) cup of drinking chocolate. (See below for the recipe.)
When I perkily returned to my computer, I tamed that misbehaving couplet within minutes. Thank you chocolate, er… puttering. Some of my most honest writing has occurred after straightening a painting. Writers need permission to putter; clean a drawer, go for a walk in nature, read a chapter, do 10 sit-ups, yoga… PIN!
Puttering is prolificness in disguise– as evidenced by the newly arranged living room or shelf of freshly alphabetized DVD’s. A recent article in The Atlantic claims that puttering around the “house can help reduce one’s risk of cognitive decline.” It mixes up the hour. From my experience, after a few minutes of puttering, I plop back down at my computer with a refreshed, sharper brain, “Now, where was I…ah, yes!” My family always recognizes the result of a good putter when they walk into the house to the scent of burnt broccoli. I often burn dinner when I’m writing my little heart out.
Children putter with purpose all the time. So can you, writer-of-young-children’s-stories. The lyrical cadence to follow may very well be your best yet. Although, we may need to convince ourselves of puttering, since we are wired for productivity. We set the standards for what is an acceptable quantity of work for a given day. We talk to our writer friends and compare ourselves to them. When we don’t meet their same level of fruitfulness, we often times feel as if we aren’t getting anywhere fast. This is when we simply must remind ourselves that writing cannot be measured in the number of pages (or sentences) written a day. It’s not a race. Really.
Be kind to yourself when the waters recede. Grant yourself permission to putter. Embrace it! Pull on your PJ’s. Have a cookie. It’ll all be okay… mon.
Carmela is married, the mother of two, a full-time writer and observer, innovative cook, collector, a bit introverted, expert putterer, party designer, art dabbler, planet helper, puppy dog affectionado, and fruit goddess, to name a few. She’s only the fruit goddess part because, “Carmela,” means goddess of fruit. And she does love fruit. You can find Carmela and all her books at: http://carmelacoyle.com/ and her recently-launched Facebook Page.
Categories: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Authors, Children's Books, Creativity, Giveaway, Goals, Picture Books, Rhyming, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Author, Carmela LaVigna Coyle, Children's Books, Creativity, Giveaway, Goals, Julie Hedlund, Picture Books, Rhyming, Works in Progress, Writing