Those two boxes hold eight months of hard work. Hard to believe that everything squishes down into two boxes.
Now that I've shipped the boxes off, I think that I can comfortably say that most of my part of my book is complete. I still have step-outs to do and a photo shoot to go to in February. And of course there will be edits and changes and surprises that come up. It's a long journey to November 2013 (the currently scheduled publishing date).
I do feel a bit of relief. This has been a surprisingly difficult process.
I had lunch with a friend several weeks ago. She asked me how the book was going. Was I having "fun" writing it? I told her, "no." She looked surprised. I tried to explain.
My book is about stamp carving. It's a very technical topic. I've developed some complicated techniques and writing careful directions for them and sketching out illustrations is slow and tedious work. It's like I'm writing a VCR manual. At the very least I have more sympathy for the sad directions that come from IKEA.
Writing this book has also unearthed all of my deep-seated artistic insecurities. And there are a lot of them.
I cannot tell you the number of times that I have sat and stared at a blank sheet of paper, held hostage by my insecurities. Every project I make isn't "good enough." At some points it has felt as if I've forgotten who I am and I'm trying to be something or someone else and do "those kinds of projects that people like." It has been a difficult journey.
Of course there have also been wonderful moments and many many projects that I love! I guess it's just that I've been shocked by how close to the surface my insecurities are and how quickly they floated up.
In the end, there was no magic pill for getting over my fears. Ruthless determination was the only solution. When I got lost and found myself engulfed by negativity I simply kept going. I forced myself to make a mark, try something -- as Nike has been telling us for years: just do it. But it wasn't easy.
I know that on this blog and in my classes I preach a kind of loosey-goosey easy going approach to art. It's all about embracing imperfection and leaving your expectations behind. I say those things because they're reminders to me too. Reminders to let go, to go ahead and mess up the page, to try something new, to be brave. So if you're out there and you're struggling, just know that it's hard for me too. I'm actually quite a perfectionist and a control freak. I simply choose to rail against those tendencies and reach for something full of joy and freedom.
Hopefully in November 2013 I'll be holding a book full of joy and freedom.
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. If you live in the NYC area and want to pick up two boxes of FREE craft/art supplies, send me an e-mail. Some of it is brand new and some is used. You have to be able to pick the boxes up from midtown Manhattan today or tomorrow. You will need a car, cab, or rolling suitcase to transport them. First one to e-mail gets the boxes. They're gone! Thanks!