Have you ever been tempted to give up on a project when you've hit a brick wall?
This happened recently with a picture book idea I'd been working on. I had spent a long time on the story, had sent it countless times to my writing group (with eternal thanks!) and it was time to start drawing.
And then I hit the wall.
I had a lot of text, maybe too much, and not enough room for illustrations. So I decided that perhaps there was enough back story in the characters to expand it into an early chapter book. (I'd never written one before-- it seemed too intimidating... but it had been in my mind to try. What the heck!)
So I began. I was enjoying thinking differently about the story (being able to use more words than in a PB-- what freedom!), and was fairly pleased with how it was going...
... when I hit another wall.
Actually, the wall was right in front of me. The wall where the sketches I had already completed for the PB version were hanging. And I missed them. I really, really missed them!
It dawned on me that the chapter book version would be a completely different story from the picture book. Not better or worse, just different. And it wasn't the one I wanted to tell.
In the end it came down to figuring out which form best suited the story. So I decided to go back to the picture book.
Perhaps I had given up on the illustrations too soon. Or maybe I wasn't thinking about them early enough while writing. (I usually end up cutting text where the pictures tell the story, anyway-- why did it stress me out this time?) But I knew I wanted to give it another shot.
I've learned a bunch of great things from this experience-- it's better to try a different approach than to give up. None of this was wasted time. And I actually broke down another wall-- because now a chapter book doesn't seem as scary. (Well, maybe a bit...) At least I know I'm capable of attempting one.
And I will-- just with a new story.