Friday, July 3, 2009

The Book That Just Won't Finish

This project, "Kiki's First Year," began about a year ago (click to enlarge and get a more detailed look). I was watching Kiki grow up, introducing her to each new season, and thinking what it must be like to experience it all for the first time. Since I love to watercolor, I began painting the things we found or saw on our daily excursions in field and forest, and of course painting Kiki. Then, for some reason, I got stuck. 
My husband helped me design this beautiful book cover, and every time I look at it, my heart aches; I want to finish my book! I think deep inside, there is a voice saying, "You can't finish it, it couldn't be that easy, you're not a professional author!" I miss the days where I just sat down and painted without the feeling of pressure or fear I feel now. 
So what is the solution? I began to paint unrelated things, so that I would keep in practice, mainly Birthday cards. But I really want to go back to painting for my book. I'll keep you posted on my progress. 


  1. Don't give up , Dawn ! I'm sure you're able to finish your book ! My husband is a journalist and he dreamed for many years of writing a book ... well , after many , I mean MANY years he wrote his book .It happened last year .
    And believe me , Dawn , your book is already inside your soul ... I always told my husband that and it was real !
    Just listen to your soul , without worrying about the right words ... I'm sure your book is already written inside you , just let it come ... It's like a childbirth ...

    Good luck !
    Best regards from a writer's wife ...

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Claudia! They are very much appreciated. The story is all there, it's just the courage to keep painting and not being afraid of making mistakes. You are right, it is already all inside my soul...I just need to get it on paper!
    So nice of you to stop by...
    xo dawn

  3. Good luck with it Dawn. Fear of failure is the biggest and the smallest reason for not doing something. I hope you can find a small do-able step to get you going again. You will!

  4. Joy, you're absolutely right, I need to start taking baby steps so the process doesn't feel so scary.

  5. Lets find an agent for you this year!
    Set the intention and.....GO!

    We all want to see this book published and in kid's rooms, kinder gardens and libraries.


  6. Wow Dawn! I knew you were talented but I had no idea the drawings on your JO blog were yours! I love children's books and my ideal job would be to own a children's bookstore just like the one in the film You've Got Mail. I'd love love love to have your book on my shop window. I'd also love to sit on the couch with my son and enjoy the illustrations and learn about life near a forest with a cute dog. Please work a little each day and see how it goes.

  7. Yiota, what you just said is such a motivation. It's wonderful to know someone out there would like to share this with their child...I am going to do what you said and work a little each day!
    Thanks so much for your kind and inspirational words...I hope you have that bookstore one day!
    xo Dawn

  8. I found your blog by reading Susan Branch's Twitter page. (I have been a fan of Susan's for years.) What a sweet blog you have!

    I have a few comments that I hope you might find useful. Before I hit 30, I realized I had to use my creative side professionally. It really was an important part of me. I wanted to write and decided to work on a children's book based on stories I told to my niece. This is not my full-time job nor did I stop working, but I did this on the side. I had (still have!) the same fears you discuss and I completely relate.

    To help me be more comfortable with the title "writer" I looked for freelance work in children's writing, just for more confidence. The pay was horrible (slave labor really), but I wanted to see how I was received as a children's writer. My first job, I beat out 90 other writers for the job. It was a small job, but it was a start. After taking on a few others, I stopped freelancing to spend my writing time on my book, knowing that at least I had some talent people wanted.

    I have also created my own "focus groups" of children and professionals to read and review my book. Tap into all the resources of people you have and do not be afraid to ask for help.

    Maybe you could take the book to your local library to read to children during story hour. Tell them you are an author working on a book and you want to get the children's reactions. Even if it is not complete, take what you have done. If their feedback is good, that will give you the energy and faith to finish. I'm sure they will love it.

    Good luck to you.


  9. I need you to write this, so I can still give it to my nieces before they grow up too much. ANd then I can translate it into spanish for you. xxxxxx

  10. I know exactly how you feel. I aways wanted to be an artist and an illustrator when I was younger. Last year I decided to go for it, and have been working on a children's book... But I have the same reservations as you do and thus am stuck, currently. It is so hard to feel like you want to do something so much, but then feel defeated by something so seemingly simple. But I think that you SHOULD think of yourself as a professional author! Good luck, I know your book will be wonderful when it decides to fully manifest itself through you!


  11. Love it!
    I came across your blog through Susan Branch's Twitter page.
    When I submitted my first book (non-fiction) for publication I thought, "I'm either crazy, or I really have a book here!" I knew in my heart I had a book..but for some reason we need to be assured. The first publisher who read it—published it! desire is to learn to paint to illustrate my first children's book.

    With your positive outlook...and obvious can only succeed! : )

  12. my mom had a king cavalier spaniel...looks just like Kiki.

    This is a beautiful project. Hope to see it in bookstores soon.

  13. Don't give up, your cover looks very charming. Start your hunt for a literary agent! My first book, about celebrating Christmas, was written with writer friends, and is such a joy for me to hold in my hands and to see sales worldwide. My advice is to search for an agent, or for a traditional publisher.

  14. I don't have a published blog as yet, just getting a private one up and running, learning along the way. I am the owner of 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. My heritage is Austrian and I happened on your blog quite by accident...of course drawn to it by the photo of Kiki on your profile. Love reading your blog...makes me homesick for Austria. Keep writing your book. I will definitely be watching your progress and amongst the first buyers of your book. Gorgeous illustrations. already have many keen customers out there...hope that it will inspire you to keep going.

  15. Dawn,
    I hope you finnish this book soon. The illustrations are so lovely. By the way, drop on by my site in the next twelve hours if you can. I have a giveaway going on.

  16. I, too, love your book idea. My husband is an author and his advice to you would be: glue your butt to a chair and just do it!

    I understand how hard it is for creative people to stick with something to completion. We have so many ideas running through our butterflies floating from one flower to the next.Very beautiful...but never staying still.

    I struggle with the same thing! I get a great idea, my heart starts racing, and I think,"This is the best idea I have EVER had!" I start working and somewhere in the middle a voice says,"This stinks...what were you thinking?" And, then, I get discouraged.

    We need bottom-glue and perseverance! You can do it!

  17. Dawn, I feel pretty sure you'll finish your book, and when you do it's bound to be a success. You've managed to capture more than an image of Kiki. Her essence shines through her picture in such a beautiful way.

    I know my granddaughters (and I!) would love this book and I'm looking forward to walking into a bookstore and seeing a copy there. (And I will promptly buy it!) Don't give up and don't get discouraged if you find that you can only work in fits and starts. Mark Twain said he always had to take a few years off in the middle of his books, and he did okay. So will you!

  18. ...Wow have a gift and are truly talented!...You will finsih!
    May you be encouraged and excited to continue!



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