Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Finding Time


    There is one thing we could all use a little more of, time. I thought of writing this blog a few hours ago and here I am finally finding the time.  When someone thinks of an author or illustrator, most likely a vision forms in their head of endless amounts of time relaxing with a cup of joe hitting the keys or grabbing a paint brush a top a snowy mountain or grassland retreat.  When in all reality, most of us live busy lives, squeezing in time where we can, to write and illustrate. 

    Is it just me or is every time I go to write or illustrate I get what seems to be an urgent email or a notification on my phone? Or is it my white board in my home office lurking over my shoulder pinching my creative time: sign up for ski race, sign waivers, taxes, class snack for the Valentine party, record book sales, LAX sign up, high school course selection recording… you get the picture.  There is also that clock that looks at me, telling me the kids pick up times are approaching soon.  What can I fit in?  It takes time to set up my painting station (Much of my painting is done at our dining room table.)

    Then there is of course the natural distraction of a beautiful day like today. That ski mountain sure looks nice out there!

    To complete “ABC Healthy,” I gave myself a timeline of how many paintings to get done per week. At the time I had two sons, one in school and one that took nice long afternoon naps.  Nap time was painting time for me.  “Dolphins Don’t Eat Donuts” was completed when all three of my kids were in Elementary school and preschool.   When I was writing and illustrating “Ski Bird and Powder Piggy: Race to the Top,” I spent many ski days indoors working on the task at hand.  I forced myself to find the time. 

    After "Ski Bird and Powder Piggy: Race to the Top" was released in the fall of 2022, I spent time going to stores, libraries and schools to read my newest book to children.  This winter (2023-24), I have been forcing myself to fine tune my craft and work on many projects.  Now I need more time for all my ideas that pour in my mind. 

    I am currently working on a middle grade novel (current status: 5 out of about 30 chapters), illustrations for a bedtime picture book (current status: 7 out of 32 illustrations, but I may change all of them), young adult novel (current status: developmental stages), and a cookbook that I have been working on for quite some time (current status: 10 pages in word, a sketch book filled with recipes, and many photographs of my cooking creations over the years).  I also have another “Ski Bird and Powder Piggy” book that is written, but no illustrations yet.  My plan was to make it a series, but I just need to find the time!

    Aside from the last paragraph of what fills my creative time, there is a countless amount of time spent on printing, publishing, distributing, and marketing. 

    When I do squeeze in the time to write and illustrate, I do like to relax with a cup of coffee, dark chocolate almonds, 90s hits on my portable speaker, and grab a paint bush while I look out at the snowy peaks.  So maybe sometimes it is like a retreat.  I just need to find the time to create my own little writing and illustrating retreats a top my snowy mountain.  


One of my latest illustrations for a new bedtime picture book.
PS: If you find the time and enjoy my books please visit goodreads.com to review and give my books 5 stars! 
Disclaimer: All images belong to Julianne Stokes. Please do not copy.
From the top:
Clock: Original illustration by Julianne Stokes
Snowy mountain photograph: Julianne Stokes
Coffee pic: Julianne Stokes
Sunshine and rainbow illustration: Original illustration by Julianne Stokes

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