Working it out, keeping it a secret


I've finally broken past the mental block(s) about an idea for a picture book. I had the glimmer of an idea a few years ago (ouch, yes it's been that long!) and have struggled with character, concept, style, and story - mostly in my head since. All the while I felt like I couldn't move on to other story ideas but also couldn't get to a good place with this one.

I spent a lot of quiet night time thinking things over with my newborn, then finally picked up a lined notebook some time ago on a rare early Sunday morning outing by myself and just started writing, drawing, doodling - without boundaries or structure. A few minutes a day, or not for a week at a time. I would write lists of cool names. Doodle heads and faces. Word association. First sentences. All these things mashed together without worrying about where it was going.

And before I knew it I had my characters, I had the overall story, their names, the style. I have miles to go before it's ready to share, even with my peers, but it feels good to get over one hurdle. It's been my dream to write and illustrate but my perfectionist side usually sabotages things right out of the gate.

It's easy to get discouraged looking at all the amazing titles alreadyout, beautiful portfolios, blogs full of progress and finished work. The little sketches above are just rejected starts. Rough and ugly. But it's the stuff you need to plow through to get to the other side, right? And the stuff we sometimes forget everyone goes through.