My Book Begins, Where The Sidewalk Ends
I’ve been a dreamer for my whole life. I’ve always dreamt big, always. But I’ve also always held myself back.
Do you have that too? That voice in your head that tells you that your competition is more talented, more worthy, more likely to garner success? Whatever your field, do you feel like you can’t possibly achieve your goals, because somebody more talented exists out there? “It won’t be you ... it will be them. How could it be you? They’re better.” Maybe you don’t have that voice, but I do. And I have let that voice drown out my hopes for far too long.
My first clear memory of reading “Where The Sidewalk Ends” happened in the second grade. My teacher, Miss Schulman, read a couple poems from the book to our class. And I was hooked. Immediately. I didn’t have an a-ha moment or anything, but I did have a strong connection to the light-hearted humor, the cutesy rhymes, and the simple sketches. I’ve loved Shel Silverstein’s work ever since. And for at least a decade I have joked, “I want to be Shel Silverstein when I grow up.”
But it isn’t a joke. It’s my strongest, deepest, desire. (That I have for myself)
A few years ago I gifted myself an iPad. I bought a stylus. And I taught myself how to navigate a few drawing programs (similar to Photoshop, with layers and various tools). It’s been a really fun hobby. On December 31 of last year I remember thinking that my new year’s resolution was to “plug in” and be more active with my artwork. It’s something that frees my mind and is a self-indulgent activity. It’s not for anybody else, it’s for me ... And as a Mom of 3, activities like that - are much needed.
I applied for a job as a Scriptist at PunkPost. They hired me in February. And then by a stroke of luck and good timing, I was recruited by a very talented couple (that I’m so grateful to know!) who hired me on as a designer for their stationery company. And just like that, art became a focal point again ... I create things almost daily. It’s hard work, with my little banshees running amuck, but it’s worth it. However, a common thread with these two projects, is ... while beneficial to my creative soul, they aren’t “for me.” (However, they have been a real kick in the pants and shown me the truth behind “practice makes perfect!” If you think you’re good at something - do it everyday. You’ll get exponentially better!)
I’m tired of letting my goals and aspirations fall to the wayside. I’m done with believing that just because I’m not the most talented author/poet/doodler/artist (And y’all. Real talk. I’m not.) that I’m somehow unworthy of success. If I really want to publish a children’s book of poetry (and I do!) - Well, I have to do the leg work.
And so I have decided, confidently, that it’s time. I’m ready. I’m ready to pursue my dreams, my goals - and I’m no longer going to stand in my own way. I don’t have to be THE BEST at anything to still be great.
Writing this blog is me using the internet as an accountability buddy. I know I’ve proclaimed “I’m going for it” before ... but I followed it up with the tips of my toes dipped in pools of aspiration. I’m diving in this time around. Here is my plan, please let me know if you think there is something I should add to it - I’m no expert!
- Create art, for myself, at least 4 times a week. Post content to my Instagram account daily. Tag the smitherines out of it, in hopes of attracting a larger following.
- Create a Facebook page for my artwork. Sync my Instagram account to the Facebook page. Be consistent on that platform as well.
- Grow my following on both IG and FB by posting daily content, working my way up to posting daily poems/doodles.
- Figure out Bloglovin, the app. Work on attracting a bigger blog following. (So far it’s a few friends, my Mom, and a few of her friends. Hey guys! Thanks for reading, it for real means a lot!)
- Attract a publisher who’s like “Yo Taylor, you’re a modern day Shel Silverstein, here’s a book deal! Alternative plan - Compile favorite poems and submit them to as many publishers as needed before somebody says yes.
- Publish a book and squeal for at least a century.
- Have my hard cover* poetry books on the shelves of elementary schools, nationwide. *I kind of dream that it’s hard-cover. But I suppose this is negotiable.
I mean, that’s it. That’s my fool-proof plan. But it starts with growing a following which means I’m going to have to be a little more self-promoting than what comes natural. Sorry in advance to my Facebook friends - I’m just trying to be Shel, aight?
I leave you with this ... because when I read it, my heart when KABOOM - it felt like it was written just for me ...
When I Am Gone
By: Shel Silverstein
When I am gone what will you do?
Who will write and draw for you?
Someone smarter - someone new?
Someone better - maybe YOU!
(That YOU, is me. I’m sure of it! Thanks for the pick-me-up, Shel!)
My book begins, Where The Sidewalk Ends ....
And in the spirit of self promotion, you can follow my artwork page @taylormadethis - Gracias!