I read this book because I wanted to make progress on my creative goals. I work a full time job but use my free time to work on a number of creative projects (drawing, painting, writing, blogging, making youtube tutorials). Recently I was really struggling to make progress on any of them. This book gave me the tools to clear my brain of creative fog and to prioritize my projects. Not only that, it gave me the option to forgive myself for not meeting my creative goals. That sounds trivial, but it's not. I was blaming my lack of progress on being tired from working 8 hours and not on the real problem - the fact that I was in a state of creative paralysis from my lack of prioritization.
As you read through the book, you may think many of the suggestions are "obvious" or "common sense". I'd encourage you to not simply read and move on, but to actually do the suggested activities, even if they seem simple or silly or boring. You'll be surprised by how well they help you get clarity on things. I can see myself using this book more in the future any time I'm in need of a creative tune-up.
Within a week of reading this book, I managed to write - from start to finish - a full 24 page comic script that I had been trying to start for the past 6 months. If that's not a ringing endorsement of the methods contained herein, I don't know what is.
Go from overwhelmed, anxious, and stuck, to consistent, clear, and in control of your creative life.
If you feel like you’re floundering in the deep end (Not waving, drowning!), and anxiety over the complexity and enormousness of your creative projects overwhelms you, stop scrambling to fit everything in and feeling stretched thin.
DIVE DEEP AND SWIM
- Sustain the energy you feel when thinking of how awesome your projects could be.
- Value your own creative work as highly as work you do for other people.
- Build a reusable structure and process that will consistently get you to the finish line.
- Blast through your stuck-ness.
- Focus. Finish. Move on to the next project.
You’re a creative person. Even if you have a hard time calling yourself a “writer” or an “artist” in public, making your creative work is core to who you are and how you see the world. You may be harboring a big, ambitious idea for a project. Possibly a lot of them.
And it’s killing you.
You lie awake thinking about it…and hating yourself for not doing more to make it real. And then in the morning you’re exhausted, and you can’t believe you “wasted” more time on this stupid idea. Who ever told you you were creative anyway? You try to shove your idea away, to forget it. But your creative work is what keeps you sane. You can’t not do this. So you live with guilt and anxiety all the time.
You’ve tried to carve out the time and attention you need to devote to your creative work. You’ve made ambitious goals, you’ve written lists, you’ve scheduled calendars…you’ve installed shackles on your desk chair. But chaining yourself to your work only seems to make you more distractible and more miserable. (And those unsightly leg sores!)
Maybe you've even tried to borrow time-management tips from the business world. Get things done! Build seven habits! Eat that frog! But following business-minded productivity systems just doesn’t work for you. The issue isn’t simply getting “things” done, it’s allowing yourself to devote precious time and attention to the vital, self-generated creative work that builds toward your vision for the future.
The problem is, the life you’re living is already full. You’ve made a lot of promises, to yourself, your family, your friends, and your community, that you’ll be there for them. You probably have a job; you may have kids. You may well have many competing ideas for your creative work. Where, exactly, can you find that mythical Creative Focus Unicorn?
In Growing Gills, you’ll discover that the power is already within you to make your work.
The biggest obstacles to your getting your important creative work done lie in the unknowns you’re facing.
Growing Gills takes you step by step through the process of pinning down exactly what’s stopping you from finishing your beautiful, inventive, and potentially game-changing projects.
Using the power of conscious decision, you’ll build your own unique system for fitting creative work into your existing life, taking into consideration how you work best.
Like a custom-designed, powered exoskeleton, your personal system will bolster and support your creative practice day in and day out, so that you can grow up and grow old while continuing to make your creative work…without chucking out all the other connections to your family and the world that make your life rich and worth living.
GROWING GILLS: Breathe in the deep end.
With your purchase of the ebook or print edition, you’ll also get:
- The Growing Gills Workbook for free
- A checklist to identify what specifically stands in your way
- An invitation to a 5-day free minicourse!
About the Author
Cartoonist, author, and educator Jessica Abel is the author of the graphic novel La Perdida (winner of the the 2002 "Best New Series" Harvey Award), the Eisner-Award-nominated Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars, as well as two collections of stories from her omnibus comic book Artbabe. She and her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden, were series editors for The Best American Comics from 2007 to 2013. Together they've authored two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics. Her book (and podcast), Out on the Wire, is about how the best radio producers in the world use story to keep us listening. Jessica is the chair of the illustration program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Both within and without PAFA, Jessica helps creative people with big ideas to get past procrastination and anxiety, and get on with the business of making their potentially transcendent, game-changing creative work real in the world. Jessica lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and their two children.