I’m a slow learner. I think I’m just getting the hang of this creative malarkey at an age when others are beginning to wind down after a long and glorious career. On my headstone, please, I want the words ‘Damn! I was just getting the hang of it!’
The trouble is, I have a brain with the attention span of a hyperactive bee, and can never decide where best to focus my energies. Drawing or writing? Books or paintings? Splashy mad stuff or detailed realism? Funny or serious? The result of all this indecision is a heap of unfinished projects, half formed ideas and a crappy bank balance. The only time I focus is when a client waves a cheque at me and speaks the magic words: ‘The deadline for this is…..’ Then, motivated by a desire to please and bills to pay I’ll glue myself to the drawing board, get my head around a new subject if needed, and get on with it. Writing and illustrating the Go Sailing books for the RYA has kept me busy, and grounded, since the first book was commissioned in 2004. Each of the seven books in the series involved much pencil chewing, redrafting, long days at the drawing board and copious quantities of white wine and chocolate, but the results were deeply satisfying. I know I can do the long haul when I need to. The problem I have now is that the series is finished, and I’m facing my first year without a book commission. I have a head full of ideas, which is a relief, as creativity is always the first casualty when the ship of life piles up on the rocks as it did at the end of last year.
The end of an era – this one will be out in March
Over the next few weeks I’ll be doing the soul-searching that belongs with the beginning of the year. No resolutions, just some aims and intentions. Find a way to earn a living. Stop whingeing, keep laughing. Find a way of living that allows me to treat my own creative ideas with the same dedication and intensity that I give to a project commissioned by someone else. Finish my favourite book idea – the anthology of sea stories that I’ve been wittering on about for years and am still inspired by.
Enough introspection – just a final thank you to everyone who has offered me support and encouragement during a challenging year, and to everyone who believed in me during the times when I didn’t!
My motto for 2013 – JUST GET ON WITH IT!
Fair winds, calm seas and a full glass of cheer to you all in 2013.