It’ sure has been cold hasn’t it? It’s a new year and that means new resolutions, new plans, and hopefully lots of new ideas. I usually start the year with such good intentions, and then they start to fizzle out by March (and that’s generous). This year, instead of making resolutions like “blog more” or “draw more” I really wanted to figure out concrete ways I could add more to my writing and illustrating life this year. With a full-time job, it’s often hard to find the time or the will power to commit to something like “draw everyday” or “write everyday”. To be honest, that would be awesome. Knowing myself, it is also highly unlikely that will ever happen.
One idea I came up with for the blog is Work in Progress (or WIP as we said in art school) Wednesday. This is not an original idea by any means, but it appealed to me as a way to take a break in the middle of the week and just take stock of where I am and where I am going. Plus, it’s fun to share in progress pictures with all of you!
Of course, I am working extra hours in January at the day job, so that means I don’t have any pictures to share this week. However, as I was thinking of what to write today, it occurred to me, aren’t we all works in progress? (Yep I know that is super cheesy) Many of us are constantly striving to be better versions of ourselves today than we were yesterday.
This got me to thinking about my progress as a writer and an illustrator in the last couple years. 3 years ago, I went to my first NJ SCBWI event. I had been a member for 2 years already, but that was the first event I convinced myself to go to. The people there were so kind and so generous with their advice and friendship that I immediately realized that the kidlit community was the right place for me. The next year I got up my courage to go to the SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC, and participated again in an NJ SCBWI illustrator event. Last year, I went to the same conference again, participated in the next version of the NJ SCBWI illustrator event, went to my first ever NJ SCBWI Conference (amazing! Highly recommend it!), joined 12×12, joined a writing group, submitted my first query, got my first rejection from said query and wrote 14 picture book drafts. (That was a mouthful!)
Looking back at my years like this was the first time I realized that I have been building towards this dream of mine to be an author/illustrator consistently for the last 3 years, and each year I’ve built a little more than the last. Were there rough patches in there? Sure! And there is still a lot of work to do. I’m still working towards publication. But making myself an “I Did List” instead of thinking of what there still is to do has made me realize, I really have made a lot of progress this past year towards my goal.
So for this year I want to build on that by looking for new opportunities to grow. I am going back to both the NY and NJ SCBWI conferences this year and I’ve already signed up for 12×12. (If you are writing picture books, this is a great group to be a part of!) I’ve started listening to podcasts. (The Creative Pep Talk is great, I highly recommend it). I’m going to doodle at work. I’m going to write on the train. Most of all, I am going to enjoy the process, even when it’s hard, by remembering that I am taking steps towards my goals.
As a work in progress, I’m glad to have made progress in 2016! I’m also going to keep making “I did lists” to remind myself throughout the year that I am making progress. You should too!