Some Words for the Discouraged Writer

 We find ourselves in a strange time in the world of children's book publishing. It would be very easy to wallow or quit. But if you're reading this, I suspect you are a fighter—like me.

Maybe are thinking about ways to reinvent yourself, to find new avenues in publishing. Maybe it's time to carve a new path, try a new genre, strike out and away from the tried and true. 

With that in mind, I offer you a few quotes from THE CREATIVE ACT: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin that offer inspiration for pushing through boundaries and imagined limits. Wishing you strength and courage as you forge ahead!

 1. Be open and curious.

"The heart of open-mindedness is curiosity. Curiosity doesn't take sides or insist of a single way of doing things. It explores all perspectives. Always open to new ways, always seeking to arrive at original insights. Craving constant expansion, it looks upon the outer limits of the mind with wonder. It pushes to expose falsely set boundaries and break through to new frontiers." - Rick Rubin

2. Try something new.

"The decision to limit your work to the familiar is a disservice to both yourself and your audience. The energy of wonder and discovery can get lost when treading the same ground over and over again." - Rick Rubin

3. Don't overthink it. Just do. Play!

"It's best to wait until a work is complete to discover what it is saying. Holding your work hostage to meaning is a limitation." - Rick Rubin


Irene Latham is a grateful creator of many books, including the co-authored African Town, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award; Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship, which earned a Charlotte Huck Honor; and The Cat Man of Aleppo, which was awarded a Caldecott Honor. Her latest book The Museum on The Moon is part history, part science, part poetry, and showcases the trash and treasure humans have left on the lunar surface.


  1. Love the inspirational quotes and your new book! Congratulations, Irene.

  2. Play is ESSENTIAL! I'm off to check out this book now.

  3. Just want to add: "play" of certain kinds—new forms, invented language, and synchronicity, in particular—have been wonderful tools I've been using since the workshop with you, Irene...They've added sparkle, meaning, delight, joy, and more to my work. These three reminders are always welcome!


Post a Comment