Monday Motivator With Debra Tidball

Monday Motivators is back to help you get your week off to a great creative start and today we’re very pleased to welcome Debra Tidball with her brand new book, Anchored. And she has some great writing insights.

Debra Tidball is a Sydney-based award-winning author of picture books, short stories, poems and plays for children. With a background in social work and a master’s degree in children’s literature, she has a particular passion for picture books and the profound way they can touch children’s lives.


Anchored is about a big ship and little tug boat and the power of love that anchors them together even when oceans separate them. It’s for anyone who’s ever spent time away from someone they love.

Anchored is published by EK Books and illustrated by Arielle Li.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

The hardest thing in writing the book was the ending – endings are HARD! I had a manuscript that I had workshopped in my writer’s group and thought was complete. At that stage it ended with Ship and Tug happily together in port after Ship’s return. I was about to send it out to publishers, but I had a niggle that perhaps it wasn’t finished, in that it didn’t show how the main character, Tug, was changed by her interaction with Ship, just that she was happy to have Ship home.

How did you overcome it?

The light-bulb moment came when I was discussing it with another writing friend, and I hit upon the idea of an anchor! Everything then fell into place, including the title, which had been called ‘Ship’s Shadow’ until then. It was one of those unexpected blessings of Covid, in that I was able to (paradoxically) see more of this friend.

What is the hardest thing about being an author?

All the other things that get in the way, like promotion (if I have a book out) and procrastination! How hard is it to actually switch off and do the thing you actually love? But somehow it seems easier to do all the things around writing rather than the writing itself!

How did you overcome it/What has kept you going?

I don’t think I have overcome it! It’s a daily struggle! But when I actually DO sit down to write – that feeling of being in ‘the zone’ and creating form from formless fragments floating around in my head? That’s magical! It keeps me diving back in!

Thanks for visiting, Debra. I love how brainstorming with another writer can really help us think of solutions to writing problems.

All the best with Anchored. It looks beautiful. The illustrations by Arielle Li look gorgeous too.