A couple of weeks ago, I attended an amazing conference at the Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay. The conference featured 12 children's books writers and illustrators who each gave highly inspirational keynote speeches. I took notes throughout the week and occasionally wrote down my own story ideas as they came to me. One of the most inspirational speeches reminded me that when you show up to work, the ideas will show up for you. Eventually. Sometimes you just have to doodle. Sometimes, if you're stuck, it's okay to copy the work of other people whom you admire (for learning purposes). The important thing is to be putting words and images to paper in one form or another - with consistency.
I had the week to myself and would return to my little rented cottage each day at about 3:30. I had the rest of the evening to create. In all honesty, I didn't create much because my head was swimming and ready to explode after 7 information packed hours, but I did doodle. This is a 5" x 8" watercolor that I started that week, just for fun, just for myself, but it has sparked a story idea!
Mostly, I came away from that week feeling that I am truly on the right path. It can be tough to motivate myself every day without a specific assignment or a deadline looming, but I'm trying. I'm moving forward and enjoying the steps along the way.