by Lisa Rogers
THE WRITERS’ LOFT WILL WELCOME award-winning author Jacqueline Davies on July 18 at 7:30 p.m. to chat about her creative process and tips for fellow writers. Lofter Lisa Rogers recently interviewed Ms. Davies for a sneak preview.
LR: As the author of several novels and nonfiction and fiction picture books, you must be very familiar with the mysteries of the creative process. How have you been able to unlock the key to some of those mysteries?
JD: Ah, the mysteries of the creative process! That is a question for the ages. Here’s what I think. You can think about the creative process OR you can be engaged in the creative process, but you probably can’t do both at once. As a general rule, I find it more productive (not to mention satisfying and fun) to engage in the process rather than to analyze it. And truthfully, the creative process for me is different with every book. Each book requires a new approach, a new entry point, a new way through. So I will say for certain that I haven’t, after all these years, “learned” a finalized, fully developed creative process. Mine is more amoebic, changing with each new project. What worked before probably won’t work this time. But that’s part of the fun of writing for me. Diving in and learning all over again how to write a book. This particular book.
LR: Have you found that different genres pose different creative challenges?
JD: Absolutely! Every book poses new challenges. And while that’s terrifying in some ways and might keep me from the page, it’s also what’s so fascinating about writing and what draws me to the page. My goal is always to manage my fear of the unknown just enough to get me to write—then it’s exhilarating to face those creative challenges and discover the answers.
LR: What is the most challenging part of the creative process for you?
JD: Truthfully, and this is going to sound incredibly mundane, the hardest part of writing for me is balancing the creative work with the mountain of stuff that needs to get done each and every day. I wear a lot of hats: writer, mother, speaker, breadwinner, agent, business manager, publicist. I tend to like to “clear the decks” before I settle into my writing, but there are times when the decks are awash and I still need to get down to it. So switching hats is a challenge for me.
LR: What do you hope writers will take away from your talk?
JD: Mostly, I’m looking forward to a nice collegial gathering of writers where we can all enjoy each other’s company. I think there’s enormous value in that. I hope that I might say something useful—that right thing at the right moment for someone in the audience—that will provide encouragement and perhaps cause a creative lightbulb or two to switch on. I hope everyone leaves feeling fortified in some way, ready to try something new or continue to forge ahead on a project.
LR: If you could share one word of encouragement with writers, what would it be?
JD: Never underestimate the importance of perseverance in achieving your goals. More than talent, perseverance will get you where you want to go. So stick with it. And try to have fun along the way.
Jacqueline Davies has eleven published children’s books to her credit. She is the author of the popular Lemonade War series. Her picture book Panda Pants and her middle-grade novel Nothing But Trouble came out in 2016. Ms. Davies’s books have won numerous awards, including the NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12, the John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers, The Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, the New York Library’s Best Books List, the NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, the IRA/CBC Children’s Award Notable Book for Fiction, the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books, and the CCBC Choices Award. Learn more at jacquelinedavies.net.