Why do you write? 

Love of reading, creation, control, broadening perspectives, connecting people, and inviting feelings.

How did you come to writing?

After a lifelong love of reading almost anything and a long career working with children as well as having my own it was time to finally pursue this particular creative challenge.

What were your greatest obstacles starting out? How did you overcome them?

Realising that there are only a few authors that make a living out of this and how this will impact my family financially. Still working on this.

Finding a family/ art/ work balance. Hmmm, still working on this as well.

How do you keep yourself motivated and disciplined?

The connection with other creatives in person or online keeps me motivated.

How do you manage your writing time with everything else you do? How has that changed from when you were starting out?

I get passionate about all aspects of writing and enthusiastically want to be involved with everything which means there have been many times when I feel overwhelmed. I have learned that writing reviews, coordinating Write Links, being involved with several writing groups, writing picture books, developing my illustrations and working on short stories, poems and two novels in between a part-time job and a large family is utterly unachievable! I had to adjust my expectations and set realistic long-term and short-term goals that are achievable. If I don’t create even a little each day, I get cranky!

Where do you write? How do you arrange your working space?

Most of my stories start as ideas and phrases that I hand-write in one of my many notebooks. I write my first real draft and revisions on my PC. I have young children, so I have set up my work space in the middle of the living room, that way I can see the children and they can see Mummy at work, which, of course, is also a problem.

What are your essential writing tools?

Paper, pen, PC. Time to think.

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you were starting out as a writer?

Sleep is important.  For over a year I got up at 4.30 each morning to get some writing time in before getting the children ready for school, and then write again at night, but I found that I couldn’t cope very well without enough sleep.

What do you read and how do you read as a writer?

My reading has changed. I used to read for pleasure—I still do that—but now I tend to examine the writing, the plot, I think about the cover, with picture books I consider page turns and it goes on and on.

I read a lot of picture books, graphic novels, YA as well as non-fiction on any topic that interests me, but I no longer look at the grown-up section of the bookshop. I have to be selective with my limited reading time.

How do you overcome ‘writer’s block’?

So far I haven’t had writer’s block, what I do struggle with is finding  time to work out those fleeting thoughts I have scribbled in my notebook or the stories crowding for attention in my mind.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be passionate about writing and everything around it. If you aren’t, this may not be for you.

Yvonne Mes is a children’s author and illustrator from Brisbane. She writes picture books, junior fiction and short stories.
Her picture books Meet Sidney Nolan (Penguin Random House) and Oliver’s Grumbles (Dragon Tales Publishing) were both published in 2015. Her short stories are published in The School Magazine and in anthologies.

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