Open Your Eyes and Ears, Inspiration is all Around You.

My friends who know me, I mean really know me, keep asking where I got the idea to start writing picture books. “Where did you get the idea for a monster needing a costume?” They would ask. In a bit of a condescending way I might add, which I kind of deserve. Like I said they really know me. And I would tell them; I stole it. It’s true. From the mouths of babes, like candy from a baby, I plagiarized my 4 yr old daughter. Plagiarized might actually be a bit strong she can barely write her own name. But to be honest the idea came from my daughter. GIVEAWAY: Paul is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: nrtomasheski won.)
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My friends who know me, I mean really know me, keep asking where I got the idea to start writing picture books. “Where did you get the idea for a monster needing a costume?” They would ask. In a bit of a condescending way I might add, which I kind of deserve. Like I said they really know me. And I would tell them.

I stole it.

It’s true. From the mouths of babes, like candy from a baby, I plagiarized my 4 yr old daughter. Plagiarized might actually be a bit strong she can barely write her own name. But to be honest the idea came from my daughter.

GIVEAWAY: Paul is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: nrtomasheski won.)

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Column by Paul Czajak, who got an "F" with the words "get a tutor" on his college
writing paper and after that, never thought he'd become a writer. But after spending
twenty years as a chemist, he knew his creativity could no longer be contained.
Living in Massachusetts with his wife, and two little monsters, Paul has
rediscovered his passion for writing and looks forward to sharing his
stories for years to come. Paul is the author of the highly acclaimed
picture book MONSTER NEEDS A COSTUME, the first book in the
Monster & Me™ series. His 2nd book, MONSTER NEEDS HIS SLEEP,
hits shelves on April 8, 2014.

With this simple phrase from her: “My Monster needs a haircut.” I became inspired.

So I wrote it down, and a story emerged. When I was finished with the first book I kept on writing “Monster needs” themed books. The idea seemed so simple I wondered how I never thought of it before. Then it occurred to me. I was too busy over thinking and I was missing what was going on around me. Books are written every day. We just need to open our eyes and our ears so that we can watch and listen to them unfold around us. The majority of stories I have written have all come from things I have observed; from my daughter pretending to be a dinosaur to scare bugs away, to my son climbing a tree to get away from a dog. Here is another example, on my way out from dropping my daughter off at daycare; I passed a child who said, “This is my tired walk.” The second I heard that phrase I loved it, and I wrote this piece:

This is my tired walk.

(How much money can you expect from selling your first book?)

I am so tired my hair is still asleep.

It’s my tired…tired…walk.

And it’s all because of a bunny and a hotdog.

Now I don’t know where this is going just yet and it may not go anywhere. But what I do know is a good line when I hear it. “This is my tired walk” is a good line. Most people can relate to it because we have all been there. We have all had our “tired walk”, and because we can relate to it we can all picture what a tired walk would look like in our heads; therefore making it a good line for a picture book. Now that I have this line that people can relate to I, as a writer need to turn it into something more. This is the trick to writing a good story, taking the common and making it uncommon. Why is this boy so tired? What kept him up all night? The possibilities are endless all because I happened to hear one little boy make an off hand comment.

This is what inspiration is all about. You don’t know where or when it’s going to hit but you have to be aware of it when it does. If I had to give a piece of advice to a writer who has writers block, or just can’t seem to come up with that great idea, I would tell them to stop trying! Go out and observe the world around you, not from the bushes mind you let’s not get creepy about it. If you want to be a good writer, stop talking and start listening, stop showing and start observing. If you allow yourself to see and hear the everyday happenings of the world I think you’ll be amazed at the flood of ideas that come to you.

GIVEAWAY: Paul is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: nrtomasheski won.)

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