GUEST BLOG: How Nature Inspires Writing with Michelle Lord

Mockingbird Chicks

Mockingbird Chicks

Today I am delighted to have talented children’s book author, and trusted critique partner, Michelle Lord as my guest.  Join me in celebrating the launch of  her latest picture book, NATURE RECYCLES, HOW ABOUT YOU?  Take it away, Michelle!

I am a writer. I collect scraps of ideas and create. With patience and nurturing, ideas become stories.

A few springs ago, I noticed an interesting nest in my yard. A pair of House Finches had built their home from yard scraps, twigs, twine and leaves. I looked closely and saw white curls. They had woven my dog’s fur into their nest! This got me to thinking about recycling and reuse. The birds had reused the discarded fur in a new way. Recycling had already been on my mind from research I’d done on carbon footprints and the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. These inspirations led to my latest picture book, Nature Recycles, How About You?Recycle copy

First drafts can feel like weeds, ugly and sparse. Mine usually do. Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “And what is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered…” I like this point of view.

Next comes the honeymoon phase. The writer thinks, this the most wonderful story–ever. This reminds me of a friend. Recently, she took a quiet moment to appreciate nature and admire a butterfly. Later, after cleaning the window she discovered her butterfly to be nothing more than debris caught in a spider web. This is what critique groups are for, pointing out the debris.

I share my manuscripts with trusted critique partners. They help me discover the virtues in my stories. They may not bloom right away, but with lots of thought and revision, they might.

And then there are the times when no ideas come… But I need not look further than my backyard for ideas and inspiration.

I look forward to other springs with countless inspirations: a family of killdeer nesting in my rock garden or a colony of bees resting on its way to a new hive. Just this week, fragile, new leaves emerged from the pear tree buds in my yard. How does nature inspire you?

Michelle Lord HeadshotMichelle Lord wrote her first stories in elementary school. Her latest book Nature Recycles comes out with Sylvan Dell this month. Her other books include Tide Pool Trouble, Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin, and the award-winning A Song for Cambodia. Besides writing, Michelle also enjoys reading, photography and spending time with her family. She finds inspiration in her backyard in Texas.

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15 thoughts on “GUEST BLOG: How Nature Inspires Writing with Michelle Lord

  1. Michelle, This looks like an excellent book! I like finding out neat factoids in nature as well. I was giddy earlier in the week when I saw a lady carrying pussy willows. Reminded me of my home in Iowa. Thanks, Laura, for this post!

  2. Congratulations to Michelle on her new book! You process sounds similar to mine, Michelle, except that for me the first draft is the happiest part of all, like riding on gossamer wings. It’s later that the hard landing, or landings, takes place.

  3. What a great idea for a book. I always throw my dog’s hair outside after I brush her. I read in Sarah, Plain and Tall that birds use hair to soften their nests. Congratulations on the book, and thanks for a fun post!

  4. A really wonderful post, Michelle. Nature is my go to thinking spot-it quiets me in a way that is hard to describe. Stills me. I love the Emerson quote and your friend’s butterfly experience! Congratulations on your book, can’t wait to share it with the kids at work!

  5. Michelle: I love how you noticed your dog’s fur in the bird’s nest. That is so interesting. We have a bird feeder outside our window because our daughter LOVES to watch the birds (and play with our dog, who loves to scare the birds from the window!). Sounds like a great book. How is the best way to purchase it?

  6. Genevieve: I like the ‘Sarah, Plain and Tall’ reference.

    Thanks, Deb! The butterfly incident was too funny…

    Margo: I sometimes groom my labradoodle outdoors, which provides the wildlife with lots and lots of fur!
    Thanks for your interest in my book! You can go to Sylvan Dell, Amazon or indiebound.org to find an independently owned bookstore near you.

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