Tonight marks the first night of the last class I need to obtain my certificate from Rhode Island School of Design's Continuing Education program in Children's Book Illustration. I've been thinking of all the things I have learned, all the great people I have met, friends I have made and of all the wonderful mentors who have shown me so very much. I can't even fathom most of it. I still feel like a rube, but at least a rube with a better publishing vocabulary. I am very excited for the class to begin, and will be very sad to see it end. Of course I can always continue taking classes, but I am so excited to complete the program. I am a huge procrastinator and self-saboteur and have the hardest time completing anything. A friend and I were discussing this very thing at the NYSCBWI conference in January. We were wondering why we are that way and what to do about it.

What makes one sabotage their own work, or let things get in the way? Why procrastinate? What is the advantage? As far as I can see, there is no advantage, it all seems pretty detrimental to me. So why do I do it? I chalk it up to one thing, and one thing only, pure fear. Fear of failure, fear of finding out your work is mediocre at best, fear of what others think, fear of what others will say, fear of choosing the wrong subject, the wrong colors, the wrong idea. It is fear on every level and it is very crippling. So it's much easier to do a little, just enough to get by, and then go do something that is completely removed from the process, like watch five episodes of my new favorite show on Netflix, do laundry, brush the dog, put the dishes away, anything other than working. The weird thing is when I do all these things, I yearn for creativity and color, I want to be sitting in my studio creating great things. Then I get to my studio and I freeze. I want to clean it, re-organize it, get more supplies, work on the computer. Argghhhh, I start procrastinating and sabotaging my time. Then it's time for lunch, time for dinner, time to feed all the critters, time for bed. Time for anything other than creating. I hate the vicious cycle I get stuck in.

So I've started to make small achievements in battling my self-saboteur. Yeah, I know all the tricks, set 20 minutes aside to just start working, set small goals, organize your workspace, organize your tasks, write lists, etc. However the best of the saboteurs know how to avoid all these like the plague. So I've  started singing up for things with definitive deadlines. They force me to get work done. I have started to try to get my work done in a timely manner, because after years of procrastination, I know that waiting for the last minute produces mediocre work at best, and that's not what I want to put out there. I also have started to pick at that fear residing in my head and heart little by little. Yeah, it's scary out there, the introvert in me wants to run and hide in my room, but it's scary out there for everyone! So I keep telling myself that. I remind myself the monster under the bed is my own creation, and who doesn't want that monster to be something beautiful or funny or amazing and not something hideous that eats you alive. I want Mike Wazowski under my bed, not Cujo.


  1. Right on, Brook. Excellent soul-searching and awesome many creative folk feel the way you do.

    But life is short, so live out loud and fearlessly, that's what I say! :)


Post a Comment