Once the idea fully formed, my mind was set. There was no going back.
I was going to write and illustrate a children’s book.
I suppose the timing couldn’t have been better. I was jobless, as I had finished my previous job only a few weeks ago, and had nothing new lined up. Well, I was not quite jobless. I gave myself the best job in the world: I set my creative mind free. To work on a new, totally different, project. The downside? It didn’t pay a fortnightly salary. But, after working in the corporate world for almost twenty years and raising a young family, it didn’t worry me. After all, I could do with a break.
My husband was supportive of my little venture; in fact, he encouraged me as much as I had hoped for. It took the pressure off my shoulders. Financially, we knew it would get a little tougher and certain luxuries would have to be sacrificed, but we could survive.
After I solved the issue of what paper and paints and paintbrushes to use for my illustrations, I set to work. The next few months were one of the happiest times of my life. A hobby became work and work became as pleasurable and rewarding as a hobby. The two blended so seamlessly, it didn’t matter what time of the day or the day of the week it was. Writing at 5pm on a weekday? No problem. Dinner? Leftovers from the previous night. Illustrating at 11am on a Sunday? A quick ham and cheese toasty for lunch. Rushing to the art store the minute I ran out of paint? Without batting an eyelid.
I illustrated. I wrote. Words like ‘structural editing’, ‘ISBN’, and ‘marketing’ didn’t even enter my head. I was blissfully unaware. Those months were all about being creative and free to express myself, about spending time with my family, as I was around when they came home from school and work. While I claimed the dining table as my art space, my husband and son took over the kitchen island to tinker with whatever they found. I loved every minute of it.
It wasn’t all worry free though. There were recruitment agencies out there. The last thing I needed was to be hassled with job opportunities. I had a job, after all. I wanted to finish what I had started, without losing focus or momentum. It came close though. I did get that phone call… And somewhere during our chat, I told the agent I was working on a book and then politely implied that I didn’t need a corporate job right now. I didn’t hear back from them. For another year. Perhaps I blew it. Perhaps the hiring company changed their mind. Perhaps there were no other jobs in my area of training. But that’s water under the bridge now.
My project was finished and I was ready for the next step.