Today's quote ("The best way to get started is to get started") comes from Montreal picture book author and journalist Jane Barclay. Jane's most recent picture book is Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion, winner of the 2010 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Picture Book Award. Jane was speaking at Marianopolis College today and my three classes came to hear her talk.
Jane shared many tips and I thought I'd mention some of them in today's blog entry. On the subject of how to get started, Jane recommended writing that first sentence -- and then seeing what happens. "That first sentence takes you in a certain direction," she said.
She also said it helps her to break down a large project into smaller parts and to get those done one by one. I was a little surprised when Jane told us that editing is one of her favourite stages of the writing process. (I know Jane quite well, but I never knew that about her!). "Editing is cleaning and polishing," she told us, "it's cutting out the unnecessary."
Jane was also very honest about what writing means to her. She that if she has a problem, she tends to turn to writing as a way to sort it out. She also talked about the challenges and possible complications of writing personal essays, especially those that deal with the people we love: "You have to be prepared to stand by your words."
Perhaps most importantly of all, Jane told us, "You have a voice. Be honest and use it."
Thanks, Jane for coming to visit on such a winter-y day and for sharing your wisdom and your spirit with us!