… and right here is where you start paying..


Have you ever had a dream? Something that you are almost too scared of doing in case it doesn’t work out, and you care too much, or in case it does work out and Then What?!

I was around twelve years old when Fame hit our TV screens. Do you remember that crazy dance teacher who used to bang her cane on the floor screaming ‘YOU WANT FAME? Well Fame COSTS! And Right Here is where you start PAYING!’?

I used to love watching FAME but I hadn’t thought about it – or the crazy mad cane-bashing dance tutor – in a long time. Until this afternoon when those ‘Quit moaning and just bloody well get on with it’ words shot across my thoughts.

I recently blogged about how blogging has really changed things for me,about how it has really helped me to get with it again on the creative front. Also about what this has done for my confidence. And that, finally, I think that I know where I want to go.

Today I cleared my desk of everything that shouldn’t be there. And left what should – art materials, laptop and printer. I’m on a mission. I’m going to try and write and illustrate a children’s picture book. No, Seriously, I am.

A picture by me.Not a picture from said book,I havn't done those yet. And when I have I won't be putting them on here..

You at the back stop laughing. There. I’ve said it now.It feels important to say it. It’s a commitment. To doing it and also to myself. And I’ll have to do it now because I’ve told you lot and I’ll look really stupid if I don’t. I’m not daft you know. I know how to give myself a metaphorical kick up the backside. They don’t call us Librans lazy for nothing. We need a regular and well placed prod, ideally with a very long stick.

I’ve been avoiding this kind of commitment for way too long. If I’m honest it is scary to say that Yes, I am going to try and do this. Properly try,not half-arsed trying.

It’s interesting how much we can hold ourselves back isn’t it. And how much we can let other people try to. Sometimes in obvious ways, often in subtle,less obvious ones. We all get scared of change ; we’re all human. Combine that with a lack of self-confidence and you have a recipe for – well,nothing,in particular. Nothing gets done.

For years I lacked confidence in my abilities. I was unable to make a creative commitment. I lacked the self belief to say ‘I want to do this’. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a clue. 

I had the raw materials but I never had the confidence.

Yeah another one.Copyright:Me 2010.Use without my permission at your peril..

I didn’t see any value in what I could do. I didn’t see much value in myself. I am shocked that I have typed this. I am shocked when I hear other people speak about themselves in this way. I find it easier to extend compassion to others in this situation than I do to myself.

It’s strange really, because in some ways nothing has changed. I havn’t suddenly got hoards of admirers telling me how much they love my work. In fairness there isn’t much there to love;I’m not published or anything. Yet. #optimistic

Nobody is beating a path to my door with words of encouragement or support (well maybe one or two, and they know who they are) but something has changed. It used to matter to me that people liked what I did. I needed the praise. I mean I do still love it when people are vocal in their praise of something I’ve done. Who wouldn’t be, I mean it’s lovely isn’t it, and on a bad day it can really lift you up. And we all need that.    

I do wonder though how much of that needing praise thing is a girl thing,how we are brought up to please and to care so much about what people think of us? It used to matter so much to me that without that potential for praise there I had no desire, no drive,to do anything. It was as if doing it just for me,because I enjoyed it, was pointless, a waste of time. The truth is that I just didn’t care enough, about doing it. Or about myself. It was Creative Apathy.

I still cannot quite believe that starting a blog can have had such a profound effect. This is an alien confidence. I’m not used to it yet. It isn’t dependant upon anybody else believing in me,or what I do, or in liking it. Or of their being vocal in their praise of it. This is new to me. But I like it.

I think that actually getting on with doing something,and doing it regularly,rather than fannying about, or not doing it, has had an unexpected outcome. 

Of course, it isn’t lost on me that if I’m daft enough to try and write and illustrate a children’s book then this new found self-belief will come in very handy. Lets hope it has legs. I shall have to look out for a thick skin to go with it when I am next clothes shopping.

Maybe this has all come at the right time. I’m expecting rejections, lots of them. And closed doors. And ones that won’t even open in the first place. I’m expecting – go on, admit it, maybe you’re doing it now,reading this – people to say ‘yeahyeah she thinks she’s going to write a children’s book and it’ll get published straight away – she hasn’t got a bloody clue.’

You’d be right about me not having a bloody clue. I’m on a learning curve. But that’s ok. We’re all on a learning curve. Some are just further along their particular curve than others. I’ve only just hopped onto mine. I’m a late developer.

It doesn’t matter. I’ll just keep trying. Because all of the other people who’ve done it,they were once at this point too weren’t they? Where they made a decision to commit to an idea, a plan, a dream. And that’s all I’m doing.

The discipline side is going to be interesting. I’m going to set aside time each evening to get busy with the pens and the crayons. Once I get started I’ll be fine. I might blog about it. I might not. I don’t know yet. Some days I’ll probably go back to blogging about wonky parsnips.  

So. Today has been a bit scary and I’ve had a crazy dance teacher ranting in my head. I don’t know what the fame bit was all about. I really,really don’t want to be famous. I’d hate it (too much attention)and anyway that’s not going to happen. 

As for ‘ ..and right here is where you start paying..’ – well, maybe it is. Everything has a price. Who knows. But you know what? I’m going to do it anyway. So wish me luck. And please, somebody, give me a prod with a very long stick if I havn’t got anything done by this time next year.

So that’s my dream. What’s yours? And are you scared of following it? Or excited? What would happen if you, you know,started following it. Now there’s a thought…


About In a Welsh Garden

Artist,Illustrator,Pro-face and body painter,Blogger and Happy Gardener : )
This entry was posted in Children's Illustration, Children's Writing, Illustration and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to … and right here is where you start paying..

  1. Caroline says:

    I KNOW you can do this. Believe xxx

  2. Teresa says:

    You go for it!! Successful people have lots of knock-backs but it’s only the successes that you hear about. If you don’t give it a go you’ll regret it! Good luck!

  3. Tara Hallam says:

    Reach for the moon, ’cause even if you miss you land among the stars.
    Go for it! 🙂

  4. Caroline,Teresa and Tara – Bless you, thankyou, for beautiful,kind,thoughtful words. You are all a load of splendiferous lovelies. I’ve decided : D xxx

  5. Vivien Crew says:

    Your picture of the two chairs and the Eiffel Tower is accomplished and has an emotional mysterious quality. Good luck with the children’s book!

  6. Hi Vivien : ) Thankyou for your lovely comments x

  7. Kath says:

    Everyone needs reassurance or affirmation from others from time to time, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. And okay, some of us need more of it than others! But you can most definitely do this. Go forth and create!

  8. Thankyou Kath,you’re an absolute love,as ever x

  9. elizabethm says:

    That is a dangerous question and I don’t the answer to it for me. I think I just need to live here, well, make my garden which is a huge and daunting task and hang onto my sense of self having given up my well paid job and now spending a lot of time looking after other people, a task to which I am not naturally well suited!
    You go for it. I admire you hugely for committing to it publicly xx

  10. I think that you sound incredibly self aware and very well suited to your life now – and I think that I have Garden Envy of your garden by the way 😉

    As for committing to it publicly, there is a simple explanation for that – I;ve come to the conclusion that I must just be mad.

    It has made me get started though – halfway through the first re-draft so not going too badly – I find it very difficult finding time on my own to actually get on with it though so that is proving (as I thought it would be)to be a real challenge.

    I look forward to more gorgeous pics and posts on your lovely blog too x

  11. Liz Owen says:

    I’ve made excuses all my life for not starting to do something with my talent. You’ve inspired me to look into an illustration course (originally did Fashion Design in the early 90’s at Ravensbourne) – and hopefully after the summer, who knows, I may take that scary plunge. I have HUGE admiration for you, you’ve done something with your talent, which will ultimately make you and others happy – I can’t wait to buy your book for my little girls – hurry up and get published!

  12. Hello Liz : ) I have HUGE admiration for you too – you are taking the plunge as well,and it is really scary I know! Do keep in touch and let me know how you get on – It is an exciting journey and it would be really good to be able to compare notes and the twists and turns in the road – and of course the successes – it is amazing – and fabulous – to think of my book getting published and I still can’t quite believe that I am mad enough to try and make it happen – but sadly I am : D Good Luck with the course application,I’ll be keeping everything crossed for you : ) x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s