We had the good fortune of connecting with Marcie Colleen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marcie, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
“To be a writer, you must designate time at the keyboard each day.” Sometimes my best “writing time” doesn’t include writing at all. Time away from the keyboard and stepping away from creating allow your subconscious to get down to work. Ever lie in bed willing yourself to sleep? “Go to sleep. C’mon, I’m waiting. Sleep! NOW!” Good luck with that. I know that usually just adds up to more frustration and awake-ness for me. But once I loosen the reins and focus on breathing or soothing thoughts, I drift off before long. It’s the same with any creative pursuit—especially writing for me. The more I sit and stare at the computer, urging my muse to “just show up already!” the more the frustration grows and whatever I end up with is usually subpar. However, if I allow myself to step away to pursue other activities—cooking, running, folding laundry, teaching—it usually isn’t too long before my muse whispers something in my ear that suddenly gets me unstuck and rushing back to the keyboard. Sometimes I even give my subconscious a little assignment while I get busy with something else. I do this a lot with running. Before heading out I will pose a question for my subconscious to chew on. Usually, at the end of a few miles, I have a few more ideas and am ready to tackle writing again. Give yourself a break and put your subconscious to work for you, simmering and sautéing those ideas on the back burner. Afterall, as my mom would say, “A watched pot never boils.”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am the award-winning children’s author of The Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series with Macmillan, as well as picture books, LOVE, TRIANGLE, illustrated by Bob Shea (HarperCollins), PENGUINAUT! illustrated by Emma Yarlett (Scholastic) and THE BEAR’S GARDEN, illustrated by Alison Oliver (Macmillan). In 2018 LOVE, TRIANGLE was named a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Book. And PENGUINAUT! was voted One Book Colorado for 2019! Celebrations were planned throughout Colorado and 75,000 copies of the book were distributed to every four-year-old in the state! THE BEAR’S GARDEN, was called “a well-illustrated, beautifully written tale of encouragement” by Kirkus and given a highly-coveted, starred review. My next book, SURVIVOR TREE, illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker, publishes on August 31st and is about the Callery Pear tree that survived the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and stands today at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. You can follow my career at www.thisismarciecolleen.com.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shoutout to all my readers–adults and children alike. Without you, life would be pretty darn dull and lacking in purpose.
Instagram: marcie colleen
Roxyanne Young Photography