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.


Little Hoo Christmas Reading at Once Upon a Storybook


I just wanted to pop in and share some photos from my Merry Christmas Little Hoo book reading last week. It was really fun and sweet. I love reading to littles who participate. There was one little boy in the audience who answered “Nooooooooooo….” all big-eyed and anticipatory to every “Is it Santa?” question. I wanted to slip him a hundred afterwards for making the whole event so much better but of course I can’t be doing that.


Here I am all animated and stuff. I can be scary when I’m reading. Especially since I don’t like speaking in front of crowds and of course I was sweating profusely. But you can’t tell and none of the kids seemed too afraid of me.

Then we had some cookies. I signed some books and pretended like I was celebrity. On one book I totally screwed up a word but the lady smiled like it was supposed to be that way. So obviously I’m not a real celebrity because I’m sure that doesn’t fly well with the haters. Or maybe it does. Maybe it’s more fun when authors screw up? I don’t know.



Anyway, it was fun. I signed the wall. I really hope this cute little book store sticks around. It was right out of You’ve Got Mail with it’s little-shop-around-the-block charm. If you’re in the neighborhood, you should definitely visit and let them know I sent you. Make sure they have my books on the shelf too!

I’ll probably be back when my summertime Little Hoo book comes out so if you missed me, you’ll have another chance in June!


p.s. Thank you to Deb for taking all these pictures!