Events,  Spring into Writing,  Writing

Jennifer Cole Judd’s Train to Creativity

I love Jennifer Cole Judd’s work so much! I’m so glad that I get to have her on my blog once again. Years ago I received a copy of Circus Train from her. You might be looking at the cover and think “Is this book actually as beautiful as it looks?” Yes, yes it is, both words and pictures are absolutely wonderful.  

Jennifer talks a lot about creativity, writing tips and all kinds of fun things! I hope this interview keeps you smiling as you go into the weekend.

Jennifer Cole Judd’s Website:


Dani: What do you do when you aren’t feeling so creative?


Jennifer: Creativity sometimes feels like a magical fairy or leprechaun. As soon as I decide that I *need* to be creative, that little muse backflips into a pile of laundry, or emails, or errands, (or Facebook posts and Acorn TV shows) and *poof*! She’s gone. For a looooong time. 

However, there are a few things that help me find my creativity again.
First, I cannot recommend Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY enough for a serious study in cultivating creativity. It’s a must-read for anyone pursuing a creative field. Cameron advocates writing “morning pages” each day (where you fill up three pages of brain noise–complete rush-write nonsense–to clear your brain clutter and unblock your creativity).I recommend grabbing a copy of this book, and a blank notebook, and see what happens when you dump all of the worries and distractions from your mind onto the page.  It sounds easier than it is! But getting all of that out gives you room to breathe creatively.

 The other thing that helps me is to take my creativity OFF the page (or the screen). These are what I like to call “creativity breaks,” and they really help get the juices flowin’ again, so to speak. A creativity break  could look a little like this: 

1) Taking a walk, and counting how many different animals I find 

2) Going to a grocery store and buying 3-4 foods I have never tried (or a bunch of random ingredients to make into a recipe) 

3) Using a different medium, like clay, finger paints, etc., to get messy with and start exploring, 

4) Holding a “Sensory Spa Session” with lots of scents, textures, tastes, pictures with multiple visual elements, music clips, etc.

5) Playing games, especially with my kids (try the classics, like charades, “Would You Rather,” “I Spy,” and 20 Questions for inspiration).

Dani: What is your favorite animal? 
Jennifer: I love way too many animals. Aside from my pets, I love puffins, horses, chinchillas, any chubby bird, and sloths (though I may not love sloths quite as much as Kristen Bell, but puffins would definitely send me into paroxysms of joy 😀 )

Dani: Do you use illustration notes? Why or why not? 
Jennifer: I do use them, but I try to use them very sparingly. (I didn’t have any for Circus Train, for example.) I think a well-placed art note helps convey to an editor and illustrator your vision without going overboard on description or direction. An illustrator can do a much more amazing job bringing my words to life with her vision without me getting in the way, but there are some instances when an art note can add a little bit of insight.) 
Dani: Where do you go for inspiration?
The library, for sure. I’m a little bit of an addict, admittedly. I’ve been known to stagger out of the library dragging sacks of books behind me.
Dani:  What’s the most fun you’ve ever had writing?
Jennifer: This is hard! I love writing when you hit the zone and it just feels like words and ideas are flying out of your fingers like magical sparks. I do think one of the most meaningful and inspiring (and fun!) experiences I’ve had was when I collaborated with my critique group to write An Eyeball in My Garden. I made lifelong friends on that project and really got an appreciation for the good mojo that comes from a positive collaborative effort. It was pure joy to work on that project.


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