Checking off goals and setting new ones

2015 (and later this month) marks the 8th year I've now been on my own pursuing a career in books! It also marks that I've now been at this "job" longer than I was with any company or job before and I'm pretty overwhelmed by that. 8 years ago I had no idea what I was doing, and last year made me realize I may never completely lose that feeling - which isn't a bad thing.

In 2014 I set a few goals and even checked off a couple! Two I had for work I told to my agent: 1. I wanted to sell a new picture book idea and 2. try to get an opportunity to illustrate a middle grade (MG) chapter book. I had wrapped up some other book illustration work early in the new year and it became clear I was going to have to get back on the author horse sooner than later if I wanted to continue to do this for a job. The pressure to create when you NEED to can be a double edged sword and I had nothing going - at least not well. I was generating ideas, but couldn't form them into good stories. Only when I had surrendered to the idea that my publishing career run may be over and that I had to be ok with it, did the pressure release. I knew I would be ok, either way. Then one night later that same week in September (about 6 months without any work into the stress zone) a book just poured out. It happened so naturally it reminded me of when my first book, 123 versus ABC, came to me.

A couple weeks later (and with help from my super agent) we sent out the new idea and ended up selling it to Simon & Schuster! I'm very VERY excited about this new story, working with an amazing new editor and publisher and I cannot wait to share more with you.

It once again reminded me of just how happy and grateful I am to be able to do what I love in making books. It's a privilege I aim to never take for granted.

So hello to 2015. I have some new goals for you this year.