Get Out and Live, Your Stories are Depending on You

by Brenda Reeves Sturgis

Ideas are endless, and everywhere! You can find ideas on a backyard walk, or at a trek to the zoo. You can find them in the news, or in the newspaper. Keep your eyes open and really look around. Listen to the chatter of little children, look at the bark of trees. Discover life around you through the eyes of a child.

Trees have faces if you look closely enough. Clouds can create castles. And in the humdrum of everyday activities, you can find a story just waiting to be told. While on my way to take my daughter to school, I was delayed by turkeys in the road. Instead of allowing a panic mode to overtake me (because we were going to be late), I simply enjoyed that moment.

And my debut picture book, 10 Turkeys in the Road, Marshall Cavendish, 2011, was born. I stopped to smell the roses, or better yet, to watch the turkeys. Soon after, I was awakened with the story of the turkeys in my head.

And after 3 major revisions and a year later, editor Margery Cuyler discovered 10 Turkeys at the RUCCL conference.

A trip to the zoo resulted in my story waiting to be sold, My Gorilla Brother, and an afternoon outing to watch my nephew play football, resulted in my story Touchdown! which won first place in the 2007 Smart Writers Contest judged by Verla Kay.

You can find ideas everywhere! A sight, or a smell, or a sound triggers them, but you must to get “out,” and experience life to find them.

One place that most initial ideas will not be found is in front of a blank computer screen. Ideas must first take root in your soul, and then once they are rooted, they are ready for watering, shaping, and pruning.

Yes ideas are endless, and they are anywhere and everywhere you can possibly imagine. Your stories are waiting for you, so get busy and get outside. Live and enjoy your life so you can first imagine, and then write your stories, as only you can.

Brenda Reeves Sturgis began her writing career four years ago, after meeting Lynn Plourde at a school visit. She bought every one of Lynn’s books and asked the question that would change her life, “How do I become a writer?”

Lynn directed Brenda to the CWIM (Children’s Writer’s Illustrator’s and Market Guide book, by Alice Pope), and also to SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrator’s). One of Brenda’s favorite sayings is, “When the student is ready– the teacher will appear!”

Brenda is generously offering a picture book critique as one of the PiBoIdMo prizes. Finish 30 ideas in 30 days to become eligible to win!