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 ♥