It’s holiday time, and you might be in the thick of it…signing cards, stamping envelopes. Maybe you’re decorating the house for a party, or making reservations for a festive meal out to spend down your profits and claim those year end tax deductions. Maybe your baking cookies for a family gathering and trying not to burn them, or eat them all before the guest arrive!
However we find cheer, the end of the year is also a good time to reflect on the year’s activities so we can be ready, come January 1, to make goals and resolutions for the next one.
So I say, the holidays are a time to stop, take a breath, relax a bit. Order an eggnog latte get our your journal and reflect…
What did I do this year?
What was it about for me?
In a nutshell, for me it was about reaching out and making space.
On the never ending journey of writing and illustration, sometimes it feels like I am going no where, especially with all the other things one has to do, like make a living.
But here’s what I came up with and I’m proud of it…
SCBWI - Not only did I maintain my membership, but I volunteered and met lots of wonderful people. Same time last year, I felt like an outsider peering in. Now I have lots of friends and I feel part of the community.
CRIT GROUP - I am blessed to have co-founded a solid author/illustrator critique group. We meet twice a month, and are all, creating, sharing, learning, and growing together. May mates are awesome and I’m grateful.
SOCIAL MEDIA - Not an easy thing for me to put my voice out into the digital ether, but I did it. I’m starting to use instagram and twitter
and now, a blog! How’s that for an breaking free of shyness. I still have much to learn, but I’m starting to catch on with all the pound signs and where to put them.
GETTING OUT THERE - I forced my self, to attend workshops, conferences and retreats….as much as I could fit, afford and manage. For an introvert, its not always easy to be around lots of people all striving for success in a tough business. But I keep showing up, and I call that success.
EDUCATING MYSELF - I am happy to say I participated in some wonderful online resources, webinars and groups. I joined SVSLearn, and The Complete Picture Book Submission System. I have learned loads about the children’s book industry.
ON CRAFT - I love to read non-fiction, so I meandered my way through these wonderful books on writing…
How did it impact my work? Well…
PRODUCTION - A silly word, but the right one. I produced some new work with all the inspiration I got from these activities and books. New illustrations, new stories, reworking old picture books with fresh eyes. I even secretly started writing a novel! Are they perfect, and published? Well, not yet, but I’m working at it and that’s what this is all about.
Those are my brags. What are yours? Big or small, every little thing counts.
I invite you to have a cookie and order up your favorite beverage, and think upon all that’s going well in your creative journey.
Have a happy day,
Michelle Rodes is an author/Illustrator in Walnut Creek, CA.