On Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner celebrating the joint venture between SCBWI and North Dakota's Indian Education Program for Books for Readers. The speaker that evening was Newbery medal winner, Linda Sue Park! I'm so glad I was able to hear about her writing process, and questions to ask ourselves as writers. Here are some of my hastily scribbled notes:
When considering whether or nor to start writing a particular story, ask if it would be an interest or a passion for us. A passion might include elements of our own identity and time we have deeply invested in something that we wish to explore more, while an interest will not last.
Also, consider whether the subject of the story (especially sensitive topics like writing about a different cultural identity) is one where you are well-informed and would feel appropriate sitting at "the kitchen table" rather than at the more formal "dining table." In other words, consider the relationship and level of familiarity you have with the subject matter.
I was especially grateful for Park's discussion of habit in her writing. She trained herself to write 200 words every day (though sometimes that may mean 5 days instead of 7, because, life!), but the point is every day she has the goal of writing 200 words. She also emphasized the importance of teaching others that your writing time is work even when it is at home and should be respected as work time.
As writers, we should think about how we would work on our craft in "the next level up," and write as if we had already reached that professional level to have a chance of making it there. In essence, treat our writing goals and craft with the rigor of professionalism!