my books,  Shop Talk,  Slow Living

Slow Living Part 3: Slow Working

sneak peek into next book

Speaking of Slow Living, I think this might apply to work too.  I think I am the slowest worker ever. My mind goes a million miles and hour but I can never seem to make those ideas happen as fast as I want them to. My actual productivity during the day-to-day is always about half of what I expect it should be. Everything I do takes forever!

For example, I’ve been working on my latest book, “Happy Birthday Little Hoo” for about two years now and poor Little Hoo is getting older than my illustration of him. If I don’t hurry up and finish this book he’s going to twenty before I’m done. Just kidding. But it feels that way sometimes.


This slowness could be attributed to a few things. I often put my books on the back burner in favor of quicker jobs that pay the bills right away. I have open-ended deadlines on my books and I don’t get paid when I finish them. I make quarterly royalties that add up over time instead. In the long run the books actually make me more money than my small jobs but I always forget about that because I’m living paycheck to paycheck and I’m more concerned about the short term. It’s silly Brenda-style accounting that makes no sense. But basically it works out that the squeaky wheel jobs get worked on and since my books don’t squeak at me they get worked on the tenth of never.

Another reason I work slow is because I have to go with the natural rhythm of my creativity. Creativity is something that can be frustratingly fickle. Many times I find myself doing methodical, boring work instead being creative because my brain just isn’t in gear. Sometimes I think I get stuck in that plodding-along boring mode because I’m focusing my energy on household chores and making sure my loved ones are taken care of, which is important too. It’s all a big juggle. And I’m lucky that I even have the choice to do either.

Back in the beginning of the year I went to a doctor for a real physical, something I don’t think I had done since I was like eleven. I got all my blood work done and all my levels came back amazingly healthy. (Thank you regular yoga routine!) This was great news because I was worried I was pre-diabetic and probably had bad cholesterol and who knows what else could be wrong. I’m at that age where people start comparing ailments when they get together at parties so I was expecting something bad coming. Turns out I’m healthy and I don’t need to take any medication for anything EXCEPT that I am alarmingly low in vitamin B12. I don’t know why. I guess it’s common in women my age and my doctor made a note for me to get my thyroid checked this year, which I totally intend to do.

I sat on that bit of information for six months. I don’t know why. Laziness probably. Just this month I finally bought a bottle of vitamin B12 at our local drugstore and started taking them. And guess what?!!! I’ve illustrated four pages in two days. More than I’ve done all year! Pathetic I know. But maybe I was just stuck in a brain fog and I didn’t even know it. The doctor said that was the usual symptom of low B12.

So the message of this post is sometimes work is slow. Sometimes that’s for good reasons and SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO TAKE VITAMINS! Who knew!

We’ll see if it sticks.



  • Jen

    Sometimes you just need vitamins made me laugh :). Maybe because you just hit really close to home. I just had a massive amount if bloodwork done and I am shockingly healthy. I have even exercised myself out of insulin resistance, BUT my vitamin D is low. Go figure!

  • Carrie

    Thanks for this post. I don’t think I’ve taken my B12 in a few weeks. Gonna go take it. :)

    So glad such a simple fix is giving you more energy! That’s so awesome.

  • Sarah

    Brain fog. Wanting to achieve something, but not quite having the drive or energy to do so is basically my 2016. So when you said B12, a very loud bell went off in my head. Medication I’m on can cause a deficiency in B12 / folic acid – but on doctor’s advice I stopped taking the latter supplement in the spring … right around the time I twanged my sciatic nerve and from then on blamed my lack of productivity on that pain. But you know what, I’m hopeful that the multivitamins I’ve been out to get this afternoon might just help against the forgotten cause of these symptoms. :)

  • Gingermog

    Hi Brenda,

    I’m delighted that B12 is having such an effect on you. A few years ago I was having really bad PMT all the time and feeling so depressed and swollen (times were very dark). I did some research online for PMT and bought some vitamin tablets for women choc full of magnesium and all the vitamin B’s. Magnesium is really helped me too as I’ve read our food grown now generally doesn’t have the magnesium that it used ot have say 80/100 years ago,. Epsom salts in your bath water once a week are really good for helping alleviate depression too. Well it really helped me.

    Incidentally the cranberry tablets you gave me that day helped me too. I’m going to Dr’s about that later this week as it back again.

    Regarding little Hoo, well you now I’m so impressed you’ve complete so many books! So many of my ideas haven’t got off the scribbly sketch stage, or even developed into a full story. its way harder than it looks. I know! I often fall into the paying job trap too. Its a balance and we’re work in progress.

    I think you rock ! xxx

  • Gingermog

    Love seeing your blog back up! Phew, breathe easy.

    Now, if we can only get the U.K. to unBrexit itself and T***p to just cease to spouting nastiness into the atmosphere & ummm and a few other World issues to sort out, but let’s start slow, one and at a time.

    love xx

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