The Secret to Writing (or illustrating)- A Photo Essay

People will always invariably ask: "How do you do it?" Meaning: How did you write all those books? How did you do all those illustrations? Is it talent? Is it some secret? Is it genes? It is some of those things, but it's mostly what I'm going to show you- and I'm not the only person who believes this. Incredibly prolific author Jane Yolen preaches this all the time. (And she's published over 300 books.)

Here we go:

This is your butt. (Okay, it's MY butt.)

This is your chair. 
It doesn't matter what kind it is. This is a very cheap one, but it's pretty comfortable.

Your head can be here.
(Those are clouds from a sunset shot I took from my deck about two weeks ago.)
(The clouds symbolize "imagination," in case I'm being vague.)

As long as your hands are here...
(I really need to put on some moisturizer, dang my skin is dry!)

Or here...

Someday this could happen.

That is the last line of Tobias Wolff's short story, "Bullet in the Brain" tattooed on the back of a young man who is a student at Western Washington University. Tobias Wolff was my English Lit professor way back when I was a student at Syracuse University. I can't imagine how mind-blowing it must be to see a fan permanently etch your very words on his flesh. 

Needless to say, it won't happen unless you put that butt in that chair and write or draw. 
Happy Sitting!


  1. Anonymous is my husband, so I will allow that comment.

  2. Love this, Nina. Funny and to the point! Or, should I say, you got to the "bottom" of things . . .

  3. Wellllll said my dear lady. I'm a lazy ... talented Libra ... so I don't do what I should even after getting my butt in the chair, I fiddle here, I fiddle there, scratch my head and fuss with my hair. My mind hop scotches the Universe and settles nowhere. My eyes speak to my brain of pixels infinitum. How can I replicate this and do it justice? How can I describe it and do it justice? How can I express in in the thorngs of desire?
    All is well for the Universe is ... Hell.

  4. Dear Anonymous-
    I, too have times when I put the "pro" in procrastination. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to wander (mentally, physically, etc...) and you are actually "collecting material" whether you know it or not. At some point there will be an "aha" moment, and you have to be ready for it.
    Good luck, and I bet your hair looks great!


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