March 02

On Doing the Thing You Shouldn’t Be Doing by Travis Jonker

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For a long time whenever the urge to write a story hit, I did a pretty good job of stopping it. Why would I want to do the thing I shouldn’t be doing?

It definitely felt like I shouldn’t be doing it. All the self-defeating stuff that comes with trying something new creatively (at least for me) came. The “What right do I have?” stuff. The “What will they think?” stuff. I couldn’t even struggle in a unique way, how was I going to write something unique?

After a lot of attempts turned back, the urge made some progress. I finally decided that the next time it hit, I was going to go with it.

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And I did. That was a while back now. Since then I realized something that I think we all know, but have trouble convincing ourselves of – that following creative urges is exactly what we should be doing.

And now doing the thing I shouldn’t have been doing has led to something I’m very happy about: a picture book called The Very Last Castle, illustrated by the fantastic Mark Pett, will be published by Abrams next year.

So I say do the thing you shouldn’t be doing. Unless it’s illegal.


Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes about children’s literature at 100 Scope Notes, his blog on the School Library Journal website. Travis is the co-creator (with Colby Sharp) of The Yarn podcast. His debut picture book, The Very Last Castle, illustrated by Mark Pett, will be published by Abrams in the fall of 2018.