I don’t know why I’m surprised it’s been nearly a month since my last post. It seems the time is getting away from everyone these days.I don’t feel like I’m doing that much more than I was doing a few years ago, in fact, I have more time to myself (when the boys are at school, I have just over six hours on my own)! Regardless, I feel like weeks are slipping by more like days and all the things I want to do are not getting done. But what am I actually filling my daysÂ with? That’s a good question. By the time I sat down to write this, it was well after 3pm…yesterday. I get up at 5ish in the am! So what am I doing?
I want to draw more. I want to write more. I want to take a class. Probably literature, but any class where I’m using some of my skills would be great for my psyche. This past Sunday, I went to the Chicago Lit Fest. I was so excited to finally get there, after 12 years of living here! My husband and our sons came too, and we met my friend Patty on the train on the way down and off we went on our adventure. It was so much fun, so much to experience, so much I wasn’t expecting. Lots of used books, but also a letterpress stall, tees that said “Get Lit” (couldn’t get a small btw), lots of presentations and performances! The great thing about being in a big city is, they have bookstores like you see in the movies. Sandmeyer’s is like that: going up a couple stairs to get in, creaking floors, musty smell, lots of people with glasses, and Django playing low in the background. Brilliant!
Unfortunately, in my being so overwhelmed, I missed, yes, missed, the SCBWI stall. I was so bummed, but there’s always next year! Now I know more what to expect.
While chit-chatting on the ride back, Patty had asked me if I wanted to illustrate picture books. In the beginning of my independent illustration career, I did not. I didn’t want to draw the same character over and over. That’s how I saw it, rather monotanous. After I had our boys though, I find I have things I want to tell them. Stories. Now, I really do want to, be a storyteller, with drawings. However, I want to be better than I am now. Actually, not better, but better, you know? I want to express the story. You have to want that part of it. You can’t just say “oooh, I’d love to illustrate picture books.” It’s not an errand or something on a bucket list, it’s within you. I think too, if I spend more time writing (and I used to be a pretty good at some writing, but that’s atrophied a bit), I’ll really improve my illustrations. For the record, I don’t consider myself a writer or a storyteller that way. I’ll leave that to my friends who can do that far better than I can!Â Don’t get me wrong, I think I draw well, but I want more vibrance, more animation. Even in an illustration you can experience movement. That’s what I need to confront. Reinvent myself a bit. I came away from the Lit Fest very inspired and enveloped within this whole “story place.” I’d found what I’d lost for a little while… This fall, I promise, I will attend the SCBWI-IL Illustration Meetings once a month like clockwork.
Which brings me to my next question (more from Work From Home Illustrative Parents): Why do we (or maybe it’s just me), as illustrators, feel some events and meetings are negotiable? That they’re “missable” if dinner has to get made or our child has a game? If my husband has a meeting at work, he stays at work. He can’t just leave and say “I’ve gotta make dinner.” Going to the Lit Fest sort of “lit” a fire under me, because I’ve let myself go dormant for so long with things I’ve needed to do that are vital to my career. And it IS a career, not a job. I’ve been considering the SCBWI conferences for a while now, and haven’t let myself go. I’ve used my younger son’s autism as an excuse for many years, that I couldn’t just leave for three days. But you know what? My husband can handle pretty much what I can, and if he had to travel, he would just go, and I would take care of our boys, He can do the same. But he also gives me the eyeroll, like somehow these conferences are more like glorified retreats. They are not, but in his defense, he can only take it as seriously as I do…Sooo, I’m going to prepare myself for the NESCBWI Conference. More intimate than LA from what I understand, but no less informative or important. Before that one, there’s one in Minnesota for a day. I think I would like to take in that one too (not to mention I’d get to see my Twitter friend Nina)!
I’ve also been getting my site organized (except I’ve got an assignment, and the boys are off from school, so it’s slow going at the moment). Here’s a sneak peek. I know, I know, the “home page” is going the way of the Triceratops and Pluto, but somehow I just feel there needs to be a transition. You don’t walk into a business and boom you’re in an office, there’s a lobby, a transition that kind of introduces you to where you are. I think a Home page does that, so I’m hanging onto that for now! ; )
Get it? I wear MANY hats! : D
I’ve actually decided to have two business cards. My illustrator one, and a Mom one. Seriously. I don’t want to give my illustrator cards to other moms, unless they’re illustrators too. I want to keep my boys separate from my work until they want to be involved with it. Is that selfish? I guess I just want them to come to it on their own terms. Our sons are always being compared to me (people don’t even know that they might get their talent from Kev, who paints too). I think I’ll do something with the background on this blog too. I think I’m going to finally stop fighting the FB Page as well. So maybe this weekend I’ll get to that. There’s always something! Looks like painting the studio will have to wait until at least August! Right now, I have to make dinner… ; ) Have a great weekend!
2 thoughts on “Write On!”
I get absolutely everything you’re saying here. I just went to my first Scbwi conf in 2 years and it was great. Don’t miss the ne one, I hear it’s fabulous. I used to get overwhelmed at the big NY meeting. Smaller is better. Your work is amazing, start writing, you can do this!
I am so with you on this. Being at home, it is SO easy to fill the days with not doing anything really productive, OR filling your days with errands that “have” to get done.
And huzzah for you taking this step forward. It took a while before I realized that in order for me to have a career in illustrating kids’ books, I had to treat it like a career. I think it will pay off in a big way. I cannot wait to see you in NESCBWI next year, because I plan on going, too! 🙂
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