You would think that writing a picture book would be easy but because of the limited amount of words with which you have to play, you have to make every word count.
I recently read some pertinent words of Tim Winton’s. He said, ” There is a lot of sweat. And if you care about language and if you’re a so-called literary writer like me it makes a difference if the word is “right” or if it is “nearly right”. If it’s “nearly right” then just forget it. It’s like losing by a point. You may as well have lost by 60 because either way you haven’t won. Nearly good enough is not going to do it. The world is full of mediocrity; you don’t want to be lining up at that queue again. You’ve got to somehow pull it out of your head or your arse or wherever you pull it from. It’s a nutty way to make a living.”
I love these words as I think they also sum up the quandary of the children’s picture book writer. I have copied this quote onto my office wall.
So when I spend weeks and weeks on a story which is only 500 words long, it’s because I’m trying to do this…make every word count.