You may be described as a ‘pantser’ – someone who can make decisions, flying by the seat of their pants, embracing creativity as it strikes. You may be a ‘planner’ – someone who needs to methodically map out their story, using page numbers and a prescribed plot line. Neither is right or wrong, nor mutually exclusive. Really, the advice is to do what it is you need to do and however you need to do it!
Of course, it does involve striking a keyboard or pen to paper – words, more words, and even more words again. Approach the process with abandon. No-one ever needs to see the first (or thirtieth!) draft… It is yours and yours alone, so write. Words beget words and even if you get stuck, one word will naturally want to follow the one you already have on the page.
Each time you revisit the page, you will scrub and polish those words. For a children’s picture book, EVERY single word needs to have earned its place. Not one word is there by whimsy!
Personally, I write when I walk. It is such a pain! Ideas stew and develop and ferment, and occasionally, the glorious ‘one line’ which ties the entire story together ‘pops’ into my head – as I duck-waddle at a pace on my predetermined path! I can’t even start with pen to paper until I can ‘see’ page 32 (or, ‘the end’) It is as though the movie is completely distorted and I am turning the aperture to gain clarity. The haze starts lifting and when I write, it may only take an hour or so. It may have been months (or years!) in the haze!
Walking, computers, new notebooks, café’s… It fascinates me to hear people beg of authors to share their working routine in a bid to gain some insight into the ‘how’ of success – when really, it is already there right with you. Your way of working is the right way!
The only ‘mechanical’ approach that is of value is the idea of blocking out time to be creative. Like booking a long wished for adventure, allow yourself to go off grid, to leave your world as it is, and create. Culturally, we are so comfortable with the idiom ‘I am going to work’ or ‘I am at work’ and we know not to interfere or to persist with annoying that person with phone calls or personal issues… So apply that to your writing.
You are ‘at work’. So, now work!