Summer Motivation

Dune Daisies at Folly Beach. I took the picture when I wasn’t working.

Ever heard of the summer slump?  You know, it’s that time when productivity lulls because of vacations, too many distractions, or it’s just too darn hot to work?  I am always the least productive during the summer months.  My children are out of school, we are on the go, and I find it hard to squeeze in hours for writing, even though I desperately need to.  If I can manage to get everyone out of the house for two hours or more, I am motivated to work. And once I start writing, I am motivated to keep going because I want my characters’ stories to come alive.  I thought it’d be interesting to find out what motivates some of the other people I’ve interviewed here on Nerdy Chicks Rule. I asked a few of them to share what motivates them to work, when they don’t feel like working.  Maybe you will find motivation or inspiration in their answers!

Insanity? (or would it be more politically correct to say mental illness?) lol…i’m buried under a pile of work right now that i would be more then happy to ignore, but that little voice in my head keeps nagging me to get it done, people are counting on me, I have yet to figure out a way to plug my ears from the inside.  🙂 —Donna Farrell, web designer

If I don’t feel much like working, one trick is to spend a little time daydreaming about the final product — what the book would look like, who the audience might be, who the illustrator might possibly be, etc. Of course, I hold these daydreams loosely but it does help me to be hopeful about my work.  —Kristy Dempsey, author and librarian

My Visa bill. — Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, author

Variety is the spice of life! The same is true of my productivity. Should I tire in one area or lack the motivation in one direction I simply shift gears to another area or direction. Thus, if I’m not able to start or progress in a writing project I shift to another work, home improvement, reading or leisure activity. You might say I keep productivity on the table at all times by remaining flexible enough to allow it to transpire in multiple ways. I also view “unproductive” time just as valuable to the end game as productive time. I don’t fight it, I simply make the best of it. Having a healthy “to do” list on hand makes it easy to shift gears or reverse course when necessary. —Ann-Marie Adams, Aquabet PR

I think about how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to write and illustrate for a living and that usually does the trick! —Dan Yaccarino, illustrator

Inspiring others motivates me to work even when I do not want to! —Shanna Stanton, artist

Sometimes I use the kitchen timer to motivate me. I set it for fifteen minutes and make myself give a manuscript my all during that time. Almost always by the end of fifteen minutes, I am ready to go for hours. But when I don’t feel like working and just can’t get into it, knowing I only have to do it for a little bit of time somehow motivates me. — Kami Kinard

I hope you’re finding ways to stay motivated this summer. If you have any great tips, please share them in a comment! If you want to read more about the contributors above, click on their names to see their Nerdy Chick interviews or visit their websites.

Nerdy Chick and Picture Dude: Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino

If you don’t follow Ame Dyckman on Twitter, you should. Her tweets are a breath of fresh air in a barrage of informational tweets. I started following her because we are both part of a group of 2012 debut authors called The Apocalypsies. When her picture book Boy+Bot, was released, I knew I wanted to interview her for the blog. The first thing she did when I asked her for an interview was to ask me a question in return. She wondered if it would be okay if she shared her interview with the illustrator of Boy+Bot, Dan Yaccarino.

Hmm. A man on NCR? Well, why not? I can hardly claim to embrace flouting social norms if I don’t allow my interviewees to flout Nerdy Chick Norms. Plus, this is Dan Yaccarino, creator of Oswald, one of my son’s favorite cartoons, and creator of many other outstanding characters too! Boy +Bot is receiving rave reviews. Clearly, Ame and Dan are a super team. I’m thrilled to welcome them both to the blog today!

 If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

AME:  I’d tell my younger self that when I (we?) say, “I want to make books!” and Those People say, “It’s never going to happen,” do not listen!  (Also, do not get that perm in 7th grade.)

DAN:  Buy stock in Apple.

AME:  That’s a good one, too, Dan.  But if I could only choose one more after Follow Your Book Dream, it would still be Do Not Get That Perm.  (I looked like a poodle for months!)

Interesting. Dan is the first interviewee to give financial advice! Ame, I was told I’d never make it at one point too. It’s fun to say  Ha!, isn’t it?  What social norms are you fond of flouting?

AME:  Besides the ever-changing hair color (currently blue), I often wear a costume just to make running errands more interesting.

PIRATE AME:        ARR! A pound of yer finest sliced turkey, or you’ll be feelin’ me hook!

DELI CLERK:           Smoked or oven-roasted?

AME:                          Oh.  Oven-roasted, please.  I mean, ARR!

DAN:  Apparently I’m flagrantly flaunting at this very moment by being a man appearing on this blog!

AME:  (giggling) Manly flaunting!

You both get an A+ in flouting!  From the perspectives of both author and illustrator, what is the best thing about having a robot as a main character?

DAN:  There are entirely too many reasons to list here.

AME:  But I’ll list three of the biggies:

1.  At signings and school visits, you get to talk like a robot, and it makes kids laugh.

2.  At signings and school visits, kids draw robot pictures for you, and that’s awesome.

3.  If hostile robots take over the planet, they’ll spare Dan and me.

Hmm. Good point with number 3, Ame. Wonder if I should work a robot into my work in progress. How is brain power an asset to your careers (as a writer, and as an illustrator)?

DAN:  Huh?

AME:  Dan!  You left the cap off the Sharpie again!

I’m not buying that! I know you’re both super smart.  So tell me, what is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being nerdy?

DAN:  I’ve collected lots of robots and let me tell you, it isn’t cool. The only people who think it’s cool are quite nerdy, too. Possibly nerdier than me, if that’s possible.

AME:  I think it’s cool!  I… oh.  Me?  In high school, I got invited to join the Academic Decathlon team.  (Glad I did.  That’s where I met Husband Guy!)

What’s cool about being nerdy?

DAN:  You can do whatever you want and not care what anyone else thinks. I’ve pretty much spent my life being a nerd and after a while, I stopped caring if I got anyone’s approval and I still don’t care, which actually may make me kind of cool, but probably not.

AME:  Nerds love to learn stuff.  Learning stuff is cool.  Ergo, nerds are cool.  (So is saying, “ergo.”)  To quote Schoolhouse Rock, “It’s great to learn, ’cause knowledge is power!”  To quote the PSAs at the end of G.I. Joe, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!”  To quote Mister Owl from the Tootsie Roll commercial, “Let’s find out!”  Plus, there’s the secret nerd handshake.  That’s cool, too.

I agree with both of you 100%. I especially love what Dan said about not caring what anyone else things. It is definitely freeing. Yes, I think you get cool points for that! Can you share a favorite song, quote, or movie that speaks to your inner nerdiness?

DAN:  I saw Revenge of the Nerds about 100 times.

AME:  I’m 99.44% pure pop culture/lit culture nerdiness!  Three examples:

  1. Every time I see a Toyota Highlander, I shout, “There can be only one!”
  2. I named my dragon fruit plant “Smaug.”
  3. I’m working on a paper comparing the five factions in Divergent to the five main characters in Fraggle Rock.

Cool points revoked! Cool points revoked! I’m kidding of course. You guys are super cool. What’s something you like to do that might be considered a little bit nerdy, but is actually really fun?

DAN:  All nerdy activities are fun.

AME:  Word, Dan.  Personally, I’m a museum nut.  Display anything with little information cards next to it, and I’m so there.  (I’ve even been to the National Mustard Museum!)

I agree with both of you here too. Do you have a favorite hobby? Details please!

DAN:  Sadly I have no hobbies, unless you consider writing and illustrating a hobby, but it’s what I do for a living. I would write and illustrate even if I was an accountant. Maybe you need to ask me what my job is because I think I’ve been spending all my time on my hobby.

AME:  I collect books and original children’s illustrations.  (Yes, I have a few Yaccarinos!)  And lately, my family and I are all about collecting random stuff, too.  The random-er, the better!  Just this past weekend, we acquired a theremin, a fencing rapier, and a statue of a warthog we’re naming “Bob II.”  (“II” because we have a replica shrunken head we already named Bob.”  At least, I think it’s a replica…)  Next week, I’m making little information cards!

I think the world of children’s books and cartoons is thankful that your hobby is your job, Dan. Ame, sounds like a cool collection. I had to look up what a theremin is. Do the rest of you nerdy chicks know?

Thank you Ame and Dan for joining us today. It is so wonderful to see Boy+ Bot taking off!  To learn more about Ame, visit her website (designed by Nerdy Chick Donna Farrell)! And you can find Dan’s gorgeous website here.

Check out the trailer below to get a glimpse of what Boy +Bot is all about! Links to Ame, Dan, and Boy +Bot online follow the trailer. Enjoy! 



BOY + BOT: (in progress)