• Eric

When the fish aren't biting


I keep thinking I’m supposed to write a blog about the new book. But, to be honest, I have no idea what there is to say. "It’s a new book! Woohoo!" Yup, that about says it all.


Well, except I’ll mention Paulina and the Pirate’s Hat is the first book I’ve had published that I illustrated myself. And that process was frightening. More frightening than I expected.


When I quit teaching 17 years ago, I told myself I’d one day illustrate my own book. But, as any fisherperson will tell you, you go where they’re biting. And as I went about writing and submitting everything from early readers to middle grade fiction, self-illustrated picture book manuscripts were barely getting nibbles and were certainly not getting hook-setting bites. At the risk of stretching this metaphor, that goal of illustrating was left to swim freely in the pond. Maybe I’d land it another day.


I’ll say this about illustrating; it’s a lonely gig. At least it turns out to be for me. When I’m working on a story or a poem, I can take a walk around the lake. Oxygen to the brain and a little distance from the computer is a good thing. Or I’ll grab an Americano and a table at a coffee shop, notepad at hand. But illustrating? Those are not options. You plant yourself in front of your materials, and you turn on Pandora, and you force yourself to get the job done. (It probably didn’t help that it was summertime when I was conquering the lion’s share of the illustrating. Days spent in my office when I wanted to be outside… Yeah, that wasn’t wonderful.)


Tell me about work you’ve always wanted to do but have had to set aside until the time was right. Here’s to the fish still swimming in your pond, and here’s to discovering the right time and the right bait.

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