Friday, May 22, 2015

Zooming In on Inspiration

When I finish a big project, I usually have to take a few days to get my bearings. I look around, dazed, trying to figure out what to do next. Morning Pages help. Walking to the lake helps. Spring is inspiring!

My camera helps me focus—literally—when I need to slow down and pay attention. For me, that can be the key to opening up to new ideas.

I just turned in the fourth (and final) book in a nonfiction series for an educational publisher. It drained me more than I expected. So I’m filling the well. Here are some things I’m paying attention to.

Last fall, I buried 40 potted milkweed plants  (3 varieties) under dry leaves next to the house. When the weather warmed up, I put them in the sun next to the garage. So far, 18 of them have sprouted. Three more plants (and one more variety) have popped up in the flower bed, which is shadier. Now I'm watching for monarchs. (Are you? Check the migration map to see if they're in your neighborhood yet.)

A pair of white-breasted nuthatches were cleaning out a hole in a branch above the garage the other day. Will they build a nest there? I hope so. I love their weird calls (described by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as "a loud, nasal yank") and the way they hop down tree trunks head first.

One of my favorite wildflowers, a shooting star, is blooming in the park. What an encouraging surprise! Maybe I can go back to work now.

Bobbi started this series of Teaching Authors posts about inspiration with a collection of wonderful quotes. Be sure to check it out if you need a dose of inspiration—and who doesn't?

Congratulations to Karen C, who won our giveaway of the YA novel in verse Dating Down by Stephanie Lyons. (Read all about it in Esther's interview.)

Baby Says "Moo!" is now a board book! Watch for a Teaching Authors Book Giveaway in June.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken


Bobbi Miller said...

You are inspiring! I love these pictures, especially the shooting stars. Congratulations on finishing your fourth book in the series, and for 'Baby Says Moo!', now a board book! Yea!

Rosi said...

I love this post. I think I'm going to try your method and take my camera for a walk.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thank you, Bobbi! I have a few shooting stars in flower beds, but none as large as this one.

Rosi, have fun with your camera!

jan godown annino said...

Oh gosh, the nuthatch & wildflower photos have filled up my well, Jo Ann.
So lovely. And that nuthatch image is calendar perfect.
Congrats. on completing the project.
And Happy Inspiration for What's Next.
Also, as a milkweed family, good luck with yours.
I enjoyed seeing the seedlings in the pots.