Rick VanDeWeghe, a longtime mentor and friend who encouraged me to become involved with the National Writing Project, once mentioned a book called Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail by Jacqueline Jackson. First published in 1974, it is not an easy book to find, but I saw a copy recently at a used bookstore and picked it up. Rick has never steered me wrong with book ideas, and he has a winner here! While it is meant for writers in grades 3 through 7, it provides a lot of relevant information and inspiration for writers of all ages, and it has inspired me as a teacher of writing as well. In the chapter titled “How (Maybe) to Write a Book”, Jackson recommends we find joy in the writing process, and that we not worry too much about the final destination, even when writing a book. Here is an excerpt:
For me, there has always been joy in the actual writing. Blank paper always made me itch- and still does – to fill it up with words, with pictures, to create a story. I’m sure a beautiful empty notebook was the reason I wrote my first book. It was begging for filling.
Since I am currently working on a new book project, this advice came at the right time – I just need to keep filling pages in my notebook, on my computer. Thanks, Jacqueline, for making me “itch” again!
Happy New Year!