I haven’t blogged here in awhile. Mostly because I’ve been working on my crazy ambitious goal of publishing essays, picture books, a middle grade novel and adult novel (saved for someday). So far, I haven’t been that successful. But I thought I’d document my process here. What I have been successful at is learning about the process.
For example, part of my work includes reading books like The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea at the Right Time by Allen Gannett. While reading it, I recognized a few surprising truths that make picture books successful and can help all creative artists be successful.
- To be creatively successful, you do not need to be a genius.
- You also don’t need to spend 10,000 hours to be a master. In fact, without focus you probably won’t be successful. But you do need to consume a large portion of material that you want to master. Gannett found that successful creative artists spend three to four hours a day or about 20 percent of their time consuming material in their creative field to increase the chances of the muse showing up at their door.
- Your project needs to be familiar so imitation especially at the beginning process is imperative. This is why writing teachers and authors are always saying you need to read and study the books you want to publish. This is also the reason why I think kids love it when popular picture books repeat certain phrases. It feels familiar.
- Your project needs to be novel. If what you create is exactly like everyone else, it won’t evoke awe or catch on. It has to be familiar enough to get someone to pay attention, but unusual enough to get them to keep reading.
If you spend enough time studying the greats, eventually creating your own work in progress will become intuitive. And from that place, you can become your own creative genius. Working with what’s working and then coming up with something that’s intriguing can increase your chances of becoming successful.