Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thanks for the encouragement, Jennifer in Wisconsin! It is surely appreciated right now (to be frank and honest). This author/illustrator thing is sometimes a tough business. We don't talk much in the social media sphere about the doubt and bad days and dry spells and all the other delicious mental quandaries we get ourselves into. Presently, my art and writing are like two squabbling (growing) kids over here, after years of being told to "shush" while I worked, they are very fussy and jealous and would both like all of my time, which sometimes lends to making nothing at all. Then I get stuck. 

I got stuck today and called my mom. Besides being the most creative person I know, she is the best listener, someone who will walk into the thick of it with you and make you laugh at yourself. I told her writing my novel and making my picture books just can't happen at once. I told her switching my brain from one to the other is like singing Christmas carols in the springtime and it just won't work. She understood, and suggested something neat. She said that "maybe you just need to properly introduce them to each other." 

I'm also not used to not producing final products at a rapid-fire rate, so this year of stepping back (yes, it has been a year without picture books) has been so vital for me. To remember WHY I make, and what I REALLY REALLY WANT to make. To make like I did when I was a kid, for the fun of it. A year of learning to be patient with myself, and learning that creation comes when you throw expectation out the window and remember JOY. 

In these months I've "raised" (because they really do feel like your kids) a dozen picture book concepts, and a novel that came out of nowhere and needed telling. But this time around, there is no deadline, art director, editor, no agent, yet. It's just me right now. It's a frightening prospect. Are the stories worth it? Good enough? Can I do it? Should I go get a job in the city instead? These are questions as creators we will always ask ourselves, I bet.  So there's some honest-to-goodness truth. Thanks for being along for the ride, friends. I'll be at the drawing board (and keyboard), working at the blank white 


Jennifer said...

New picture book YES??

Librarian fan who buys everything you illustrate immediately (-:)

Rick McKee said...

Thanks for sharing part of the process, Julia. You're in good company. You got this!

www.juliadenos.com said...

Thanks Jennifer!! Hopefully, YES. You are so sweet to say.

Rick! Thank you, means a lot! Couldn't have gotten this far on the book without your research help. Abe is lumbering along... :)!

atlanticmo said...

Hang in there Julia. You are fabulous.

James said...

I feel the same way and have the same problems. Just keep moving forward and things will happen. At least that's what I always tell myself.

Kate said...

The creative life is never quite what you expect. And it's really good to hear about the process when it isn't pretty and isn't one tidy solution. Thank you for sharing that. Hold on the the simple truth that you are a creator, a maker, a magician. I have confidence you will find your way.

e.b. goodale said...

yes what a wonderful post! The creative process is scary and sometimes that is hard to admit. <3

Becky Cavender said...

I really love your work and I will be excited to see whatever you produce next.

I'm new on this journey and can say that I very much relate to all those pesky fears + worries. I think that when we are honest about how we're feeling, it pushes us to continue to be brave.

And when we're brave and strong, we can squash those nasty little fears. Or at least put them in our back pockets for awhile.

I'm hoping this is true, anyway.

Thank you for sharing.

And I am sure - absolutely - that you shouldn't pack-up those dreams. Tell your story. Don't get a job in the city. :)

Victoria Stitch said...

oh my goodness I know EXACTLY how you feel! I struggle with this too, often. I think its because to make a piece of work/book/whatever you have to focus on it and get passionate about it which makes it extremely hard to flip to being focused and passionate about something else at the same time. Constant dilemma of my life!

www.juliadenos.com said...

And Victoria-so glad to know I'm not alone in the zany "passion switch" between two (or more) creative projects, it sounds so silly but it can really mess with you, right?...focus means leaving one behind. Art doesn't like to wait. But we must focus to move forward, I suppose.

www.juliadenos.com said...

Thanks, all <3

posse said...

I think your mom is very wise and I love her idea of introducing. Perhaps creativity comes from one good place and all of our creations (instead of bickering) can realize they've got a lot in common under the surface.

Mai Kemble said...

boy am I nodding my head along with you... quiet times without pending deadlines are nerve-wrecking even when you need them to create personal work. In the end I truly believe that making work you like and would like doing will get you paid work doing these... if you only do what pays the bills you will be stuck doing those projects forever! Creativity is like trying to hold water with your hands... you can always catch some but sometimes it feels like a lot gets wasted... or missed as we thirst. but I constantly look at what you do here as inspiration as I'm sure so many others do as well. My husband and I constantly talk about this sort of thing... ;) know you are not alone. and everything you do does matter. :)

Mary denos said...

Thank you Julia for your tribute. You and my four other children are beyond doubt. The greatest creative work in my life...next writing...music...hmm. Introductions came so naturally in the family. More unwieldy in the world of creative production. There is always room for whatever new is coming along. Enjoy.

Christina said...

I have the same problems and I am SO glad that I'm not alone. It is monday morning here in Munich and I should work on my book for adults AND my book(s) for children. But somehow I just can't get myself to write just one line..or draw something..or write another story..

Thank you for you post! It helps a lot!


C. E. Bahnsen said...

At first I wasn't going to leave a comment because sometimes it's just nice to vent and not have people popping suggestions at you, but I've been thinking a lot about this post.

For me, I'm a writer and that comes first. Writing a novel is a big project. We can't just wait for inspiration, we have to plug at every work day. Do you have to work on more than one project at a time? That's up to you and your muse.

If you decide to both at the same time, for the shorter projects, it helps to have one or maybe two days set aside in the week where you work on just that project. You wake up excited because that becomes a special day where your muse gets to play.

Having that special day of fun can also set the creative juices flowing and make the novel writing days more fun.

Of course, nothing's set in stone and if I finish my writing early for the day I may work on a different project in the afternoon even if it's not 'the day' for it, if you know what I mean.

Anyhoo, it's just a thought. :)

www.juliadenos.com said...

It's so good to know I'm not alone in the "writing and drawing" brain fight...thank you and good luck Christina!!

C.E., I am HEARTILY welcoming suggestions and your suggestion is a GREAT one. I think it's all about time division, too. And it's really about disciplining the brain, isn't it? It's hard because after many years of letting "art" do its thing whenever it wants, telling it to stop and move over for the writing has been a challenge. Maybe one day I'll get these kids to be friends. I'm going to try to implement your idea, thank you! Good luck on your projects as well. <3

Aline said...

Hi Julia!
I'm a big fan of your lovely wonderful work! It's amazing how you put into draws and colours the children feelings.
I just pass by to suggest you to do a post about your favorite picture books.. and suggestions to children books. It will be so good!