Race Running

Some where, someone made a comment that made me think about writing as a competition.  Then there was a meme on Facebook that corrected that kind of thinking; authors support each other.  The topic of competition has been tumbling around in my mind since, so maybe this is a good topic to discuss here.

So often adults pit children in competition against each other.  This happens more often in sports and situations where one child is ranked against another. Have seen and done it myself, without realizing it. Maybe it is just natural thing . . . but should it be?

Success is many times a companion of competition, as well as failure.  Somehow it feels like we forgot that struggle and not doing well is a part of a learning experience.  We can try many things, some we may find fulfillment in the activity alone, others we may really be quite good at doing.  Some we may enjoy more than others, but not be good at and have to practice over and over.  That is ok, too.  Trying new things that are interesting is how we discover our abilities, and likes.

I am not a fast runner, but I run.  My place is usually in the bottom three, for the race and my age group.  Doesn’t stop me from running races.  I am just trying to finish faster than I did last time.

My path isn’t the one for everyone, it is the one for me.  Something, as a parent, I tried to teach my children.  Do your thing. If you don’t know what your thing is, try things that are interesting to you.  Don’t judge yourself based on how well you do something compared to someone else.  The only person you can compete with is yourself.  Being a better you is the only competition that really matters.



That should be a dirty word.  It is one that gets us all in trouble, well, it can.  We expect so much, and it can cause us to push ourselves and each other.

As a part of expanding my horizons, I began listening to podcasts about or on writing. The Writing University has a series by the same name that offers recordings associated with the University of Iowa.  These include talks from their famous Summer Writing Festival, known as “Eleventh Hour” talks about the craft.

One such broadcast from last summer by Éireann Lorsung, titled, http://www.writinguniversity.org/podcast/éireann-lorsung-‘productivity’-and-‘failure’-for-writers. Her talk hit me right on top of the head, much like a hammer.  She began writing poetry at sixteen and completed her university studies.  She spoke not only about writing, but life in general as well.

We are a competitive society, and regardless of whether your craft is writing, art or business, the bottomline of what we produce as being a means of measurement for success or failure is universal. Good versus Bad.

This blog is not writing.  It is the final product, but not the most important aspect.  All the work that you don’t see, that I don’t see, the process, is most important part.  Getting from the germ of an idea to this that you see, without it the final product would not be.

She spoke about play, experiment, life, all that we are and do are part of the process of writing. A mistake that I, myself have made.  Compartmentalizing my life, quantify my success by what I have to show for it, and lack of appreciation of the process of writing.  Pow!

Lorsung redefined for me the writer’s cheer/cry – WRITE! My perspective has changed, her approach was personal.  Her manner, word choice and examples over and over seemed to echo my experience and thought process. Yes, this is a personal unique methodology, this craft of writing – but we all have something in common.  Anxiety. Éireann Lorsung

Not only offering perspective, but suggestions for dealing with self pressure, Lorsung does so with humor, encouragement.  Redefining the writing process, and life in general, a pressure valve was created during the thirty-eight minute podcast for me. (Éireann, thank you!)

Ah, The Frustration

So, here’s the block.  This time not a writer’s block but a drawing block.  Is there a better term for that? That is what I am.

It has taken three months to realize the problem.  The faces!  The child’s face in the story is far more cartoon-y in comparison to the more realistic portrayal of the grandfather.

My daughter suggested that perhaps this is appropriate, because as we age we do loose imagination.  We become more realistic and literal about everything compared to our younger selves. Hmm.

I am thinking on this.  Here are a few samples.  Comment, please!


Child face

Cartoony child



sleepy realistic child attempt


grumpa rough


out of focus sleeping grumpa attempt at cartoony


Rough Grumps and playing at a ball spot sketching


sleepy grumpa

Unknown Territory


Figuring out how to illustrate the story and then practicing drawing that illustration until it is just right is a learning process. It has been hard to figure out when and what can be done.  My husband keeps telling me to stop over scheduling. (He knows me so well.)  His advice has been to just do what I can do each day and be happy with that.  Tough advice to follow.

Ready to be finish.  It is frustrating not to be faster. Minimal experience drawing, or painting of any kind other than by the numbers is leaving me feeling intimidated.  It is scary and exciting to do something new and different.





Cleaning and Clearing

I find myself thinning the stuff to store, and re-organizing my space.  Especially the work space. Last month in an effort to push my nose to the grindstone and hurry up the art work, I purchased some of my Snowball character images on shirts.  A ‘work uniform’ so to speak.

I hate them.  Well, not HATE, HATE them.  But I am not happy with them.  Well, there ya go, I have found another skill I need to master in this pursuit.  Photo editing. Oh, joy.

No, I am not exactly thrilled with the prospect.  Feels a little overwhelming at the moment.  However, some of that has come from not really having a method to my madness.  This was another point that was spoken about at the writer conference.


I have been like so many and read and researched and yes, I have a storyboard, and tried to outline and set deadlines and  . . . .

I could go on and on.

The point is, as a person, I really need to live first.  Eat, sleep, exercise, work and play.  I can’t just be at the desk writing or at the table drawing all the time. That will make me very boring and very unhappy.  The writing is the work.  That healthy equation is made up of five things, not a singular one.

In pursing that one, I let so many other aspects of life take a lesser importance.  Part of my project this month is still those page of illustration, but as well, balance. A little of this, a little of that, and organizing time and space for all of the things I love and enjoy doing.

And, this is a big one.  Instead of trying to do this how everyone else and their brother have been doing it – If I am going to write, I need to do it my way.  For me that is the right way.  (Same goes for drawing.)