Still (still) here

A photo posted by Andrea Brame (@andreabrame) on

Considering it has been some time since my last update, I thought I’d post a little something just to say I’m still alive and still writing. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately, trying to figure out where I belong in the world of kidlit. I haven’t come to any firm conclusions yet, but I know I’m not giving up. I’m sticking with it. I can’t help it!

Being a writer sounds so glamorous, but the reality is lots of early mornings or late nights or stolen moments when you work on plot and characterization and dialogue and story. If there isn’t time, you have to carve it out where it hurts the least. As a parent who hasn’t gotten a whole lot of sleep in months … years, really … I admit I tend to give into vegging out on the couch or simply going to bed more often than not lately. As my husband tells me, quoting someone whose name I don’t remember, “If you don’t know what you want … it’s sleep.”

I should probably be sleeping right now.

But here’s the thing. I’m stuck. I’m stuck on some science and some characterization and some plot holes. I’ve written all the things I know and now I’m stewing on the things I don’t know. I don’t blog here much. I don’t even open Scrivener as much as I should. But I’m thinking it through. Sometimes in the middle of the night, after I wake up and realize what I could next. And then I give myself insomnia because my brain won’t stop thinking and let me go back to sleep! At 3 a.m.!

Whenever this happens, I’ve learned that what I need most is a blast of inspiration. I go to a store I love, solo, and just browse. I take in the art and the design and let myself get lost in it. I even take pictures of things that particularly make me happy. It might be washi tape. It might be towels. It might be a funny saying. But I enjoy it all. Then I stop and breathe in nature. I browse hashtags on Instagram (#instabooks, #bookstagram, and #igreads are faves). I meet up with a friend over coffee. I hug my husband and just savor the moment.

And it works!

So, tonight, in the still evening hours when my son is deep asleep and the dark has drifted in and the rain is falling gently in a mist and chill electronic music is playing on my iTunes radio in my earbuds, I’m writing this update. Then I’m taking some time to write. And it will probably be crappy writing. That’s okay. That’s what first drafts are for. I’m going to hand-wave my way through this science-y mess that is keeping me back in fear, even if it means I make up ridiculous faux science just to make it through. I can go back and fix it later.

This is my story. I’m the writer stuck in the wilderness of the middle of her book. So I can write my way out … I control my fate.

And when I have, you’ll be the first to know. Well, second. I’m pretty sure my husband and son will hear my triumphant shout of victory when the last word is written.

(Oh, and by the way, if you are also on Instagram, drop by and take a look at my feed. I’m scratching a creative itch while my writer wheels spin by sharing a photographic series of the books we love and live with as a family. Check it out!)

How a Song for Kids Reminded Me Why I Write

I was sitting at a Sonic, dipping my plastic spoon into chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, when the song played. It was funny and I chuckled.

How clever.

I suppose I should have been a little embarrassed to be listening to my baby’s CD when he wasn’t even in the car. I wasn’t. How could I be?

Because … Sandra Boynton.

Despite having worked at a library as a teenager, I was first truly introduced to Sandra Boynton’s genius after college. It was love at first read. Years later, when I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was go out and purchase a couple of her books for our little man. I had no idea she had created music, but when I saw a CD with the her name on it at a store, I bought it on the spot. I had set it aside, but that night in the Sonic parking lot, I put it in my car’s CD player on a whim.

And suddenly, I remembered again why I love words. Why kid lit is my favorite. Because the cadence and candor of a simple children’s story can speak to all of us.

This is why I write.

p.s. The song that made me chuckle? Copycat, sung by Brad Paisley. The song that took me back to my own childhood, when I could stare at a blade of grass or out a rain-drenched windowpane in quiet wonder? This one: