Children's author Alison Lester has been working on a new book, but she's not yet written a word.
"For me that's hugely important, just to have all that time of having it in my head, rolling it around," she said.
"I like to be able to fiddle around with it.
"But there is a danger of forgetting everything," she added with a laugh.
Lester is about to attend her first Write Around The Murray literary festival in Albury (September 11-15), presenting an author talk and also leading story time sessions at Lavington Library and Albury Library Museum.
"I've discovered if you sing stories, little kids are just all ears, so I'll probably be singing them rather than reading them," she said.
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Originally an illustrator, Lester said she had needed a bit of confidence to start her own stories but now the words and pictures generally went hand in hand.
Living on a farm and the arrival of multiple grandchildren in recent years does mean "life gets in the way enormously" of her writing.
"I seem to like just squeezing it in when I can," Lester said.
"I don't think I'd be very good just being locked up in a room, writing, I think I need to be out there living it as well."
Apart from her student days in Melbourne, Lester has preferred to live in the country.
"I love having houses you can't lock, and hearing the horses chewing grass through the open bedroom window," she said.
The author said people could underestimate the writing of picture books because of the lower word count.
"In actual fact, you have to really polish and polish and polish what you're doing to make it work because you have so few words to say what you're going to say," she said.
"The whole world is what you're drawing on to make those books, so you want to be influenced by big things that are happening in the world so those nuances come through in your picture books."
Lester encourages novice writers to "just keep at it".
"Nothing beats just doing it every day, no matter what you're doing, whether you're playing football or netball or piano or illustrating, you do it and do it and do it, you do just get better," she said.