Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Workspace and Work Tips from Tammi Sauer, Day 1

Week of August 28: Workspaces and Work Tips from Writing Friends
Tuesday, August 30: Author Tammi Sauer, Day 1

Top Tip from the Office of Tammi Sauer:
When my children were small, they napped from 2:00-4:00 each day. During those hours, I didn’t watch Oprah. I didn’t call my mom. I didn’t flop down on the couch with a blanket, a Dr. Pepper, and the latest issue of Us Weekly. Even though I really wanted to. Instead, I went inside my office, I ignored the world, and I wrote. Or I read about writing. Or I analyzed picture books. Each day I had those two beautiful hours to myself, and I knew that if I wanted to be a picture book author, I needed to make the most of them.
Three Things That Make My Work Space Work for Me

I have shelves that are filled with many of my favorite books. Not only do I enjoy being surrounded by all of these wonderful words, but I love having easy access to inspiration. When I’m having a tough time coming up with the Next Big Idea, I will often turn to a few of the books in my office. I might simply reread them. I might study them (character, setting, conflict, word choice…). Occasionally, I will type out the text of a book. I love seeing what a book’s manuscript may have looked like, and it’s a great reminder to leave room for the illustrator to tell his/her part of a story.

One of my shelves is devoted to writing resources. Two of my favorites are Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story to Publication and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Even though I’ve been at this writing thing for years, I am constantly striving to learn more.
I have a coaster on my desk that my mom gave to me. It has the following words on it:  “With faith…comes growth.” I love the message. I also love having someplace to set my very-necessary-to-my-writing-process daily 32 oz. ice tea.

My Favorite Places
This is a list of links on my computer. They offer me quick access to Facebook, Twitter, Verla Kay’s message board, and blogs that include Picture This! I know that many people like to ignore the Internet when they are working on projects, but I like to sporadically click onto Facebook or a blog or whatever as I write/revise. Doing so allows me to escape the story for a few minutes, and, when I return to my writing, I feel I see it with fresher eyes. It might sound like a strange approach, but it works for me.

When I am between projects and am trying to determine what sort of story to write next, I have a special favorite place that I like to visit:  Tara Lazar: Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) http://taralazar.wordpress.com/. In 2009, Tara started something called PiBoIdMo that stands for Picture Book Idea Month. During the month of November, Tara encourages writers to come up with 30 new picture book ideas. Each day, she also has a guest blogger share an article about a way he/she generates ideas. The following links will take you to those posts:  http://taralazar.wordpress.com/category/piboidmo/  http://taralazar.wordpress.com/category/piboidmo-2010/.  Be prepared to drool.

My Favorite Writing Companion
This is Snowball. Snowball is my constant writing companion/occasional snorer. He can usually be found underneath my desk. Sometimes he curls up inside one of my display shelves. I think he does this on purpose to look adorable.

Please take a moment to appreciate the photo. Each time I got on the floor to snap the picture, Snowball would either crawl onto my lap or roll over for a tummy rub. What a diva!

I have one other constant writing companion that I love-love-love. Name? Space Heater. Space Heater is on 90% of the time--even when it's 107 degrees outside. Yes. It's a sickness.

It’s Your Turn!1. Creating a space to work is important and can lead to inspiration and, at the very least, personal comfort during long hours of hard work. Create your space and make it what you need it to be.
2. Visit Tammi’s website at http://www.tammisauer.com/.


Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Rob - love the post!
Tammi - I love Tara's PiBoIdMo - I did it last year and it was really helpful. I also love your picture books - I have Mostly Monsterly on the shelf right behind me even though my kids have long since outgrown picture books :) And I love your Snowball. Mine are named Scout and Jemma (I'm guessing you can figure out the literary reference :)) Thanks for the glimpse into your workspace.

tammi sauer said...

Thanks, Susanna! I'm honored you have Mostly Monsterly. :)

And get excited. PiBoIdMo 2011 is only two short months away.