Writing

A big fat creative lesson

I learnt a big fat creative lesson recently.

As you know, I have been doing a doodle a day for the past few weeks. So far I have drawn frogs, dogs, bees and spiders.

A few weeks ago, I decided to go off-piste and make something up. So I drew this:

Copy of Snooglehooter
Er, except… I almost didn’t. My fear almost got the better of me.

As I drew the creature’s wobbly body and fluffy ears, I felt silly. “This is ridiculous,” I said to myself, in the not-very-encouraging way I sometimes do. “I can’t do this. I shouldn’t do this. It’s way too silly. I should stop and go back to drawing bees and frogs.”

Cringing, I ignored my voice and finished my drawing. I was going to hide it away. I wasn’t going to show anyone and I most certainly was NOT going to post it on my Facebook page.

But then I saw a quote somewhere and it was about being true to yourself and stepping out from the closet.

“F*** it!” I thought, and posted my drawing on Facebook.

Here’s where the big fat lesson comes in:

1) That ‘silly’ drawing turned out to be one of my most popular posts.

2) Miracle of miracles, that same ‘silly’ drawing gave me an idea for a picture book.

I mulled the idea over. I pondered. I visualised. I dreamed. And my subconscious must have got the message loud and clear because a week or so later, I sat down at the computer and wrote the whole book in two days.

TWO FLIPPING DAYS!!

OK, so I spent time after this perfecting the story and tweaking each sentence. But still, the basic story was there in a couple of days.

In contrast, writing my previous four picture books has been a slightly more drawn out, torturous affair, involving months of indecision and frustration. I never in a million years thought it was possible for me to write a book in a few days. Nope. Not me. That was for other people. (You know; proper writers.)

So basically, a miracle happened.

And this miracle would never have occurred if I hadn’t ignored my crabby, negative voice and drawn a ‘silly’ drawing which I thought only I would appreciate.

Which just goes to show – if you think something is ‘silly’, ‘ridiculous’ or downright ‘stupid’ but you’re unfathomably pulled to do it, it’s probably your best work yet!

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
Joseph Campbell

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