Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tips from an illustrator and How do I find time to do everything I want to do?

I started a tradition years ago, of putting Christmas books in a basket and letting my kids pick from them every night in December. Last night I read Santa Clause the World's Number One Toy Expert to my five-year-old. It is one of the cutest books I have ever read. I love the pictures. I always keep staring at them after I've finished reading the book. It's written and illustrated by Marla Frazee, an award winning illustrator and author. Her website, has some good tips for illustrators. Definitely worth looking at.

On the subject of holidays, I can't really enjoy them unless I feel like I've been making progress on my books. I spent the last six months packing, driving across country, unpacking, organizing, hanging pictures and curtains and in every other way trying to perfect my surroundings. After moving 7 times in 8 years, I was obsessed. OK, now I want to get back to work.

I know I get the same 24 hours a day as everyone else, but it's never enough. I've never been good at using my time effectively, except when I was going to school full time, commuting, raising 3 boys, and taking care of a house and a dog. I did my homework first and managed to fit in housework, laundry, grocery shopping, carpooling and spending time with my family. They had to help with the housework and cooking, and that was a good thing for everyone.

Without the deadline of an assignment, I tend to do things the other way around. First I do the housework, laundry, shopping, errands, business, cooking and dishes, then when I'm done with all that...well, I never am. I'm too tired at the end of the day to do anything creative. But I've learned over and over that I need to be creative first, then do all that other stuff. Because housework depletes my energy, but creative work creates more energy! At the end of a day of writing or drawing, I can fit the housework in. Of course, taking care of my kids takes precedence over everything else. That goes without saying, right?

There are certain things I just spend too much time on, like cooking and dishes and shopping and grooming. These are all things that need to be done, but with a little planning I'm figuring out how to streamline them so I can spend more of my precious time creating. If anybody has ideas how to spend more time doing what we want to do and less on those necessary chores, I would love to hear them.


  1. I wish I had that answer too. Cool idea with the books!

  2. My daughter loves to read Christmas books year round. :)

    Hmm, don't do your chores? lol

  3. What a great tradition with the Christmas books. :)

    Like you, I'm way too tired after I've done "everything else" -- I've learned to be creative first -- first thing in the morning. Makes me feel good to do something for me first thing.