Stagnation

“I talk a big game
Even though I don’t have one
In fact I’m normally shy and reserved
I’m the quietest
Of all my friends
Unless a bottle of wine is served
I say sorry flippantly
Apologize for breathing
And I’m sorry if you find me annoying
By how much tea you see me steeping”

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Stagnation and self doubt may be the cruelest critic we have against personal growth. It prohibits you from letting your work flow like it normally does. The doubt we feel lingers in the back of your mind saying we are not who we are and that we are a fraud.

You are not alone. I deal with it constantly. (Sometimes it takes a rest to get over the feeling, sometimes a bottle of wine and some well chosen friends.)

I am not a master of my craft but merely someone wanting to find my own way in it while taking small cues from others. I don’t want to be the person that emulates another artist. I want to be the artist that people look up too and want a smidgen of the same thing I have been able to accomplish. But I don’t want them to copy my path. I want them to find their own.

It’s easier to get lost if you are filing your hopes and dreams in somebodies else’s. If theirs is on top of the world, you’re lifted up, but if theirs tanks you have an excuse. If it’s your goals, and your experiences, the only person you can blame for your inadiquicies is yourself. But you also have to decide if you will continue letting yourself hold you back with doubt or if you will let yourself free fall into something great. I took that leap, and although I’m not perfect, I’m learning more than I ever thought I would. I’m learning because I want to learn, though, I don’t want to be stagnant.

Stagnation can be the ultimate betrayer in this all. If you are stagnant when you free fall, you could just wind up hurting your overall mission even more. Make some waves. Try new things. Make a goal. Then free fall into it. If you don’t have your own experiences to fall on when you don’t make it you will learn nothing except that; that didn’t go the way you wanted and you might not do it again. Fear is the opposite of creativity. Open yourself up to the possibility of failing, but learning from each mistake. You may come out with your greatest masterpiece.

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Growth Mindset

“You can only become great at something you are willing to sacrifice for.”

– Dr. Maya Angelou

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I have read Maya’s words hundreds of times… Practically engrained I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings into every heartbeat. Now more than ever her many lessons echo within me. I had a handful of people that influenced how I lived my life.

The kindness of Princess Diana, the compassion of Mother Teresa, the unapologetic attitude of Dolly Parton, the playfulness of Felicia Bond, the poetic form of Shel Silverstein, and the heart of Maya Angelou.I am an amalgamation of more than one of these amazing individuals.

I am the byproduct of teaching myself how to love in the face of hatred, to breathe when I can’t find my lungs for screaming, and to constantly be looking for the bright side because you can get lost in the dark to easily.

The way we grow up is important. We go through a million trials to end up in the second we are in with only a billion more to experience. Why waste those moments and trials feeding something that does nothing for your soul? Water the passions that drive you. Sacrifice your time and shed light on the garden lying dormant. You never know what your future will be but every act in passion is a prequel to your greatest masterpiece. You don’t have to decide what that will be right now, time will do that for you, your only job is to live a full life and if you are going to sacrifice your time for anything: make it worth your while.

I am planting myself a new garden. Nurturing my forgotten roots. If I want something done right, and I don’t see it happening, I’m putting in the effort and doing it myself. I may be a stubborn mule about it but the fact remains: If you want something done, you have to put in the work. You have to sacrifice.

 

I’ve been thinkin, I’ve been thinkin’…

I’ve had this blog post weaving through my brain for a while… though now I feel I can finally put this process into action.

Caspian Brown is my little baby of a mouse character. He was the first real character I gave a voice to and was the ‘Star’ of my first picture book. He symbolizes my own journey with learning to be brave and pushing through college, fighting the stereotypes from high school, finally breaking down my fears while accepting who I am, and that asking for help when it gets too tough IS okay.

For me, Caspian is my Max.

But, I am ready to let him go out into the world.

I am ready to start looking for an agent, to finally sit down and make some moves with my writing and illustrating career, even if it means letting go of Caspian.

I’ll still be writing stories for him, and still drawing him if who ever I find thinks my drawings are of merit. At the same time I am willing and understand if they like my writing and don’t like my illustrations. Or vice versa.

I guess this is the point at which I say I am growing up. That I am willing to throw my hand into somebody else’s and ask for help. I am getting far to overwhelmed with trying to champion 5 different aspects of this journey and I am extremely excited to find somebody willing to get my voice out there.

 

 

New Book – New Goals

Last year I set out to write my first picture book. I sat down, wrote out the manuscript, brought it to my friend Teresa, and within a few short weeks I was illustrating my first book and starting Caspian Press.

This year I am still working with Caspian Press to encourage authors and illustrators to shake the dust off their pencils and dive in.

Which has also encouraged me to do something I didn’t think I would do. Write a book of poetry.

I’ve always loved poetry, and have been writing it since I was a young girl, but I never thought I would have my name on a collection of my own!

I sat clicking through some old notepad writings on my phone one night and stumbled upon a kooky letter I wrote from the perspective of a Copic marker to a piece of Vellum Bristol paper. I remembered exactly why I had written it.

  1. To see if I could – I do this to myself often. I don’t believe I can do it till it’s done.
  2. It would be fun – It was fun! I wrote it from my own perspective, as a Copic marker. Odd, yes, but I loved the challenge and it let me use a different voice.
  3. I once had a teacher tell me a poem could not be about a lamp – Okay, this is where it gets a bit weird. I had a teacher ask me in high school what poetry was. I raised my hand and waited to answer. When she called on me I softly said “Poetry is the world around you. It could be about a lamp, or leaves, it doesn’t matter. It is how your mind interprets the world around you… written into prose.” She quickly shot me down with a “Poetry can’t be about a lamp, next person!” I was crushed, and mortified. At the time I was a very quiet student. I kept my head down when it came to the teachers, so I didn’t argue it, even though I was argueing with myself about it.

Fastforward 10 years: I found myself still arguing it. I had wrote this poem out because I want to prove that poems could be about something as mundane as a marker or a lamp. And so I did! I let it sit on my phone for 3 years before I came back to it.

When I finally opened up the notepad it struck me. I kept this hidden because I didn’t think it was a real poem. Because a person told me I was wrong about what I believed was true. I couldn’t let this go. I decided to show myself this wasn’t a one hit wonder and started writing other poems. Some were crumpled up and never seen again, though most made it out of my notebook and into the hands of my two wonderful editors.

They gobbled it up every time I showed them and kept asking for more. My friends would text me and ask if I wrote anymore of them. They were just as enamored with the idea as I was with writing them.

Inanimate LOVE was born!

In the end I wrote 28 poems, an ode to my age in a way, and left ‘Lamp to Lamp Shade” as the very last one. And yes: I wanted that to be two words.

Today is the first day the book is out for purchase. After the new year it will be available for Limited Time purchase on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, and anywhere else you buy your books online. It will also be available for purchase on Ingram.

Thank you to Teresa Butler & Brittany Fader for being my wonderfully supportive editors. I couldn’t have done it without you. I know you put up with toooooo many but‘s to count and I appreciate your scolding over it. I have a problem. I can change. If I have too… I guess. Haha.

 

Go pick up my second book! It’s available now!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/anna-nelson/inanimate-love/hardcover/product-22982871.html

Still Surreal

 

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In four days it will be the 6th month anniversary of releasing my bouncing baby book into the world. It was something I slaved over for months and to see it finally in so many hands.. well… it brings tears to my eyes. Even now.

It was months of really hard work and dedication to seeing it finished. And I get so much joy seeing people that love my book showing it off. Especially when they send me photos of their kids. More than anything its the kids that say “I can be brave too!” or “I’m brave like Caspian!” THOSE are the kids that this book was made for. It’s because of them that this last 6 months has flown by, and I hope to continue to hear stories like these from them. ❤

 

I love getting photo’s of those that are reading the book or of people the book has been passed to. Keep em coming!

 

~Anna Jean