“And that is why, when it’s time to make a change in my life, I just BEGIN.
Even if I’m starting in the wrong place. On the wrong project.
I simply BEGIN.
ACTION is magical. Somehow, action leads to clarity. Begin somewhere and just pay attention to the results you get. Then, refine your actions to accommodate what you have learned.
This is the most profoundly simple strategy I discovered about reinventing your life.
Then, notice. Adjust.
And, begin anew.”
~ Jennifer Boykin – Breakthrough
Nearing the end of finishing my drawings for my illustrating project, as I look back to January, these were perhaps the most motivating words I’ve ever heard in regard to starting something new. There is a certain kind of fear I associate with starting something I’ve never done before. It’s the fear that keeps me from beginning.
This kind of fear has a process all it’s own. I wake up and immediately think about the new thing. Then I sit and think about it for a long time. I begin to stir up some confidence, so I gather the tools and materials I’ll need. The tools and materials all laid out, ready to go, snaps me back to the place of fear. I sit and think some more. I picture myself (in the illustrating case) putting the pencil to the paper. The fear rushes in again and I back away and think about it some more. Them I drop it completely and go do other things.
Gradually I begin thinking about it again. I imagine the finished product. I plan it. But that “snap” that I need to actually begin hasn’t hit yet. Thank goodness I found Jennifer Boykin’s Breakthrough . I never imagined it was that simple. Just begin.
Oh it’s simple, but it’s not easy. I had to adopt the mindset that if it wasn’t good, I could just tear it up and start again. No one had to see it. No one but me would know it wasn’t good. But then I get to thinking what if it will never be good? What if I can’t do it? Nonsense. I can do anything I put my mind to.
So I begin. And it isn’t bad. But it isn’t good either. I do tear it up and start again. Gradually I learn not to keep tearing it up. I find that if I push on through I gain an understanding of the medium and what I can do to fix things I don’t like. I learn the boundaries of the medium. I learn how the color works. I learn how the paper receives the color. And before I know it, I have a completed piece of artwork. I think it’s good, but what if it really isn’t?
Now I have to show it to people. And I HAVE to because I have to know if it’s honestly good. So I show it to people I trust and my critique group. It’s well received and I feel relieved.
I do the next two pages and then I show it to my biggest critic who I know will never lie to me, my teacher daughter. And what does she say? Mom, it’s the eyes of the characters. They need to be symmetrical and big. Look at any picture book. What’s the first thing you connect with? The eyes.
Wow. I never knew. So I worked on the eyes. In fact, I developed a whole new system for doing eyes. I leave them until last and cut them out of white paper and try them on the character. This gives me tremendous freedom in experimenting with the feeling the character is going to convey. I can make as many sets of eyes as I like until it’s just right, and if I trace them, they’ll all be the same size. The difference it made in my work was amazing. I finally felt it. It was good. Good enough to send to the author.
Who knew it was all in the eyes? Not me. Smart girl that daughter of mine. Smart as she is, I still would’ve not known this if I didn’t “just begin”.
Are you faced with something new? Just begin.
And so, as another day goes by, “just begin” is my mantra of the month, and…I have written.
The name of the book is The Trouble With Ralph. Here he is stealing the sheets. Does he look guilty? It’s all in the eyes.