Wednesday, July 5, 2017

That Thing I've Avoided Sharing (Until Now)

This is a post that I have repeatedly thought about writing but have questioned the wisdom of sharing each time. Sure, I have alluded to it, mentioned it in passing, but never directly, and never with the weight it deserves. The post I'd like to write is about self-doubt. Often times I feel like it's the elephant in the room. It seems to be too important a factor in the process of making this book to give short shrift. If I am going to share this creative process withheld all of you, and I really want to because it is something of great importance to me, it's import should be expressed in a forthright way. To convey the story behind the storybook, and more specifically my story as the illustrator, all the relevant and interesting bits should be included even if some of those things feel quite personal.

...Isn't this the new way? -Marketing (believe it or not, Drawing A Conclusion me marketing this book-to-be) should be thought of as sharing and with a kind of informality and transparency that allows for connection, trust. I don't have any training in marketing, I don't know about clicks or eyes or interest, how to attract them. For sure I've been doing it wrong because – too shy on social media, too hesitant; too few posts, not enough about me, my opinions, my life. Too infrequently have I commented on others posts, started a conversation that bonds and brings together. I have my habitual behavior of being reclusive , staying insular, not reaching out to others. But I very much want to reach out and connect with you. I want to create something that for you is joyful and meaningful. You being able to see what me and my friends have created and sharing it with the young people in your life would be a very special connection!

Of course the fear in sharing what is a surely a weakness is that you are painting yourself in a negative light for others. Many would say, "Don't do it. You are giving yourself a reputation". Honestly, I can't see how that wouldn't be true, but, taken as a whole, revealing your weakness need not be a negative thing. By revealing my difficulties, I hope to help the reader identify with me and my journey. The self-doubt feels like a unique and personal debilitation,but, in my more grounded moments, I can see it as a quite universal and common affliction. If it were not so, there would be a heck of a lot more people going after their dreams. This seems like common sense.

To put this into less wordy, more every day language:
Guys, making the pictures for this book is really challenging me and making me confront my insecurities and reckon with my negative habits. In my core, I sense this will be a pretty awesome book that has the potential to get a lot of attention that could translate into sales. I've never had anything resembling that kind of success and the possibility of it is causing me to subtly drag my heels — put off completion. Even if the only success this achieves is the completion of a project that took years, I am daunted!
When I have attempted to support myself through my craft it has been a losing proposition, I just couldn't sustain it, not enough gigs, under-estimating how long it would take me to complete and therefore under-bidding. It was a couple years of being broke and going further into the hole due to the interest on my credit card debt. It was a couple years of struggle. I lacked the inner strength to self-promote, to network, to push forward with confidence.

All I could see were my negatives, how I could only barely work on my portfolio and add pieces. It seemed I didn't have the resolve or discipline to put in as much work as animators that were having success and believed that if I did the same as they, I too would have success and my work might even be of superior quality. This may be true, but it is a sort of excuse. It is part of perfectionist's dilemma; too self-critical to create, never having to see if your work measures up to your high standards. Never trying, never failing. The solution being: to do the thing, to take action, to risk failing, give myself the only chance of succeeding.

The bottom line, thankfully, is that here I am...doing it. Not just to make a living, but to take full control of my success and consequently my life. Not creating for a client, but for myself, for everyone. I'm proud to be inching toward a goal that I have worked very hard on and represents my best work to date.

Thank you if you read to the end! I'll try to keep future posts shorter.

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