Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Happy 2017 Blog Post (aka Looking Back and Looking Ahead)

I realize it's already January 29, but happy 2017!  If I summed up my new year so far in hashtags, it would be #amwriting, immediately followed by #cannotfeelfingers and #haveastupidpinchednerveNot the ideal way to start a new year, but hopefully I'll be on the mend soon!

In all honesty, being forced to cut back on my writing and illustrating this month has given me oodles of time to reflect on 2016.  I've discussed the concept of "failure vs. success" with lots of my lit buddies, subscribed to the very worthwhile "12 Days of Christmas for Writers" web series by Julie Hedlund, and taken a good look inside myself.  And what I discovered is that we writers and illustrators are a mean lot, brutally demanding and endlessly harsh on ourselves. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the lit community is SO WONDERFUL at building each other up.  (I seriously don't know what I would do without my writing and illustrating soulmates.)  But when it comes to being internally satisfied, we all have an enormous tendency to feel like we never do enough or achieve everything we want to.

To illustrate this, here's my personal 2016, retold in the style of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

As 2015 turned to 2016, a little writer-illustrator sat at her desk. On New Year morning the resolutions started flowing and POP! Out of that mindset came a determined, very ambitious Kathryn.

In January and February she revised half of Pirate Ferret, but she still felt unaccomplished.

In March and April she whipped out illustrations and put on a big book festival at work, but she still felt unaccomplished.

In May through July she completed two months of daily drawing challenges and led her first workshop, but she still felt unaccomplished.

In August she re-revised the first half of Pirate Ferret, but she still felt unaccomplished.

In September through November she completed an illustration course, drafted two picture books, started an Instagram account, planned a local art gallery, illustrated her rump off, overhauled her website portfolio, and worked on Pirate Ferret.  But she STILL FELT UNACCOMPLISHED.

That December she had a meltdown.

When the New Year dawned once more, the very ambitious Kathryn realized she was being utterly ridiculous and had actually accomplished a lot in 2016. It may not have been everything she’d intended when she sat at her desk twelve months ago, but it was a heck of a lot nonetheless. 

She’s going to work on that in 2017. 

The End.

All joking aside, I really have realized that I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to feeling accomplished.  Resolutions are great, but so are unexpected opportunities.  Goals are helpful, but sometimes they need to be reevaluated.  And of course, life just happens.  So I'm going to try to be better about celebrating the little victories this year and be content as long as I keep moving forward.

On a happier note, I am very pleased that I managed to fill up this chart again in 2016!


I feel like I was pretty quiet about sharing art on my blog this year, but in all honesty, I did more work to grow as an illustrator in 2016 instead of full, finished pieces to post online.  And I wrote a lot, too.  So anytime this blog goes silent, just know I'm scribbling away at something behind the scenes.  :)

I was going to follow up this post with another one on all the other fun things I did in 2016 and never posted about.  But since most of those things involve writing and illustrating in some way, I think they feel at home here.  So what else did I do in 2016?

I spent a week at Highlights for a mini-reunion with these lovely ladies. 

We wrote and giggled and learned how to tie teeny-tiny Twizzler nooses.  It was pretty awesome.

I also got to visit this wonderful gal on three occasions, and we attended our first conference since she moved from Ohio.  It was just like old times! 

This fantastic partner-in-crime helped keep me on track all year long with manuscript challenges and victory Chinese buffets.  We also met Mo Willems and it was AMAZING!  Mo's Pigeon even photobombed our picture.  ;)

(This picture was all sorts of awful until the Pigeon saved it!)

Lastly, I am oh-so thrilled that 2016 brought me TWO new nephews!  That now brings my auntly total to three handsome nephews and one beautiful niece.  (And lots and lots of love!)

So that pretty much sums up my 2016!  I'm sure I forgot to post about something--it was quite a roller coaster year--and I have no doubt 2017 will be just as crazy.  But with good friends and wonderful family, I know it will be another great year.

I wish you a creative, healthy, and joyful new year!  And most of all, I hope you keep moving forward in 2017!

Note:  Blank art summary meme edited from DustBunnyThumper on deviantArt. link "Pigeon" is (c) Mo Willems.  (I was just being silly.)  All art and doodles are mine.