Then came the strangest feeling.
I suddenly felt very done with it all.
To be a writer and illustrator of beautiful stories has been all I've wanted to do since I can remember. So it was very strange indeed for me to all of a sudden want to let it go. I wrestled with the idea for another couple months. I never stopped drawing, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd done all I could do with words and pictures for the time being and it was time to try something different. My decision met with some resistance from people who cared about me, friends who had watched me struggle the last five years as I put every ounce of my creativity into a handful of projects that ultimately didn't make the cut. They told me I was close, and I couldn't give up when I'd worked so hard and come so far.
But I was tired. I'd hit a wall. I needed a new reason to get up in the morning. So I signed up for some psychology classes and shut down the studio for a little while.
I'm happy to say, my semester + a summer has done me good, and I'm really looking forward to applying to grad school in the fall. If all goes as planned, I'll be a psychologist in 3 1/2 years. What a plot twist, really. I couldn't be happier. In fact, I have to say it's one of the best decisions I think I've ever made. I'm really glad I mustered up the moxy to go through with it.
But I've been sneaking back to the drawing table, because I still love it there. The need to write beautiful stories... it hasn't left, and I've realized something wonderful these last few months.
I don't have to worry about getting published anymore, or chasing freelance work so I can call myself a working artist.
I don't need to stress over submitting to editors, or querying agents, or how my next portfolio review is going to go.
I have a whole different plan for my 9-5 money job, and it's a solid one.
If I want to write beautiful stories ...all I have to worry about is doing the work and hoping my love for the work shows through each time I sit down to the drawing table.
I am an artist.
I am a writer.
I always will be.
It sounds simple, but it's an attitude adjustment I needed to make for myself and no one else.
I still write stories that may or may not ever get published, but if anyone asks me about it now, I can just relax and tell them I'm working on it. Being published is not the "goal" anymore. Holding on to a process that lives in my heart and hands has taken over. This is my work on my terms, finally, and that feels good.
Here are a few details taken from a couple spreads of my PB dummy I've been revising this past year.
Not sure it will be in shape for a fall submission.
I'm working on it! :)