Meet Our (National) Members: Judy Ann Sadler

Judy Ann Sadler has written 25 books for children, and counting! All of her early books are craft books filled with creative ideas. She knows that by making original, beautiful, useful items you become creative, curious, enthusiastic, resourceful, patient, passionate and generous. Now Judy Ann is focused on writing picture books because everyone loves a good story! 

Describe your workspace.

I work in a studio space on our second floor with three windows, two window seats, a sewing machine and lots of shelves and bins filled with yarn, fabric and ideas!

Describe a typical workday.

I don’t really have a typical workday. I work part-time at two branches of London Public Library, so some days I work away from home. I’m also busy with family responsibilities (which I love!) so I try to carve out time as often as possible.

List three of your most favourite things in your workspace and why they are meaningful.

My desk is a cast-off from an artist friend so it is covered with paint splatters. I love that it had a former life and that I’m using it for more creative endeavours! The table in my studio came from my childhood home where ten of us gathered daily for meals, homework and games. I love it!

I’m also very lucky to have window seats in my workspace. I wish I could say that I sit on them daily and daydream, but most of the time they are cluttered with books and fabric! 

Do you have any rituals in your work habits?

When I begin a new book, I start with a blank notebook and a sharp pencil. I love brainstorming ideas and quickly getting them down on paper. I’m afraid if I brainstorm on my laptop, I’ll delete ideas, good and bad. I often refer to my early scribblings and find them valuable.


What do you listen to while you work?

I’m a radio junkie so I have CBC Radio 1 on all the time. I tune in and out as I work.

What is your drink and/or snack of choice while you’re working?

I graze on crackers, nuts and chocolate!

How do you develop your story ideas? Do you use an outline, let the muse lead you, or another technique?

Mostly I brainstorm. I like to gather resources that might be helpful and immerse myself in the world I’m writing about. Words and sentences pop into my head across a day or week or month and I add them to my notebook. When I’m ready, I try to come up with a first draft. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, I’m very happy!

If you were forced to share your workspace but could share it with anyone of your choosing, who would it be?

One of my kids or grandkids would likely keep me inspired.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve heard or received?

“Begin, Sir, begin.”

Thanks to Jennifer Chambliss Bertman for the use of her Creative Spaces interview questions.

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