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A Healthy Mindset for Starting a Business and De-bunking Stigmas

July 20, 2020-I’m so proud to introduce our guest blogger today! It’s our very own Erin Cutler! Check out what she has to say below: (We love you, Erin!)

Picture a young artist after 4 years of post-secondary education, finally receiving their Bachelor’s Degree of Illustration and ready to jump headfirst into the big wide world of opportunity. Looks hopeful right? Well for me, anxiety-inducing was a better word. 

A year ago today, thinking about my future in freelance illustration and starting my career triggered avoidance, negative thinking, massive anxiety and sometimes tears. When you dream big in a world of conforming and financially contributing to society, how do you start small? How do you take this beautiful, authentic and creative passion that is larger than life and turn it into a reality? If these questions riddle you and hold you back from going after what you love… then read on my friend, I was you. I sometimes still am you, and I’m reporting back with good news!

So, what’s the good news? First and foremost, the good news is that you are enough and you deserve success on your own terms. Society has a vision of success and a work till you break mentality to achieve it. Though that lifestyle works for some, it may not be beneficial for everyone and it may be the reason you feel held back. Starting your creative career is daunting enough, having expectations to conform to anyone else’s standards other than your own is crazy talk. Start with focusing inwards. Figure out who you want to be in the world and what success means to you. Take care of yourself and find a work-life balance that makes you feel good. 

I struggle a lot with anxiety and one of my most useful techniques is dreaming big but thinking small. The prospect of the future brings me great fear and uncertainty, it’s this giant unknown you just can’t control no matter what you do. Starting small means literally doing the very first step that you need to do to get to where you want to go. For me it meant walking into my office space, sitting in my chair, opening my laptop and writing down a list of all the companies I want to work with. Focusing on each step until it is complete, quickly took me from looking up companies to reaching out to companies. If I never focused on the next small task, I’d still be worrying about how I was going to make rent 5 years from now. Focus is everything.    

My last word of advice, for all my fellow creatives, is to be kind to yourself. Being an artist can come with the pressure to produce creatively invigorating work with every brush stroke. The reality is, sometimes you might be working on 100% and other times you could be giving it 50% because the other half of you is putting your energy somewhere else…and that’s okay. I’ve had breakthrough moments where I was producing amazing art and feeling really healthy at the same time. I’ve also had moments of anxiety, grief and health concerns that severely divided my attention from my work. It’s healthy to take a break from being the best artist that you possibly can be. When you work on yourself and put focus into different areas of your life, your career will flourish. A healthy mind and a well-balanced life will encourage creativity and a willingness for growth. 

So now picture this, a recent anxiety-riddled grad goes to therapy, adapts cognitive-behavioural tools, builds confidence in their abilities and redefines success. What we are seeing here is the beginning of a healthy, flourishing creative career. Big dreams take patience and tender care, they take love of oneself and the ability to prioritize the small steps.

Lastly, you got this! Go get that dream career, anxiety is real but it’s also manageable and you are strong and capable.

Erin Cutler is a Canadian Freelance Illustrator. She has illustrated 3 children’s books for Pandamonium Publishing House and works in editorial. Some of the books she’s illustrated include Pants, Miranda the Very Loud Mouse, and Grandma’s Table. Her work can be seen in Murze, Shameless, Geez and Harpy Magazine.

You can purchase Erin’s books here: 

Pants!

Miranda the Very Loud Mouse

Grandma’s Table

Check out Erin’s portfolio site at www.illustrationsbyerin.com. You can also follow her Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/illustrationsbyerin/) or (https://www.instagram.com/inkling.illustrations/).

 

 

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Lunch Lady Heroes

April 24, 2020– I was lucky enough to meet Jarrett when I was in New York attending the SCBWI winter conference last year. He’s a fantastic speaker and a lovely guy. Check out his Ted Talk about Why Lunch Ladies are Heroes and his graphic novel!

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September 2018 Schedule!

September 3, 2018- Lots of exciting events going on around here! Check out our September Schedule:

September 14, 2018: Supercrawl 6 pm to 12 am (Lacey)
Binbrook Fair 5 pm to 10 pm (Tamara)

September 15, 2018: Supercrawl 12 pm to 1 am (Lacey)
Binbrook Fair 10 am to 10:30 pm (Tamara)

September 16, 2018: Supercrawl 12 pm to 7 pm (Lacey)
Binbrook Fair 10:30 am to 6 pm (Tamara)

September 17, 2018: Self-Publishing and Everything You NEED to Know presented by                                                  Lacey at the Sherwood Public Library 7:00 pm

September 22, 2018: Brantford Autism Speaks Walk, 12 pm to 3 pm

September 24, 2018Self-Publishing and Everything You NEED to Know presented by
Lacey at the Grimsby Public Library 7:00 pm

September 29, 2018: Phillip Star Book Signing at Indigo Stone Church from 11 am to            2pm with Lacey

September 29, 2018: Presentation of the Best Dressed Car trophy at the Power Wheels                                                Derby at the Caledonia Fairgrounds! (Lacey and Team)

Throw in school visits and author meetings, and it makes for a busy September! But, that’s just the way we like it!

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Do Author School Visits Matter?

August 13, 2018- I do a lot of school visits as an author, and someone once asked me the question, “Do author visits make a difference in kids’ lives?” I took a second to think about that. “Yes, they do. And let me prove it to you.” More on this in a second.

I love, love, love going to schools as a visiting author with the opportunity to read my books to young people! It is such a unique and wonderful experience that no two schools are the same. I leave with a sense of gratitude for the young minds that allow me their attention for even a brief time and for the teachers and librarians that welcome me with open arms, into their schools and their spaces. The questions that the children ask are fun, funny, and sometimes very personal! But, enough about what we as authors get out of school visits, what do the children receive?

According to a recent study that was conducted in 2013, by California State University, children receive the following benefits from author school visits:

  1. Author visits motivate children to read more. Kids passion for reading is ignited before, during, and after an author visit. They get excited about things that they can relate to such as an in-person visit from someone who is real! I often hear them say that they too want to be authors when they grow up.
  2. Author visits inspire creativity and expression. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a school where the kids have created a comic book for me, complete with illustrations, or how many times they’ve created a poem or handmade card.
  3. Author visits motivate children to write more. Children often hurry home after an author has visited their school because they’ve suddenly caught the writing bug. They want to write about anything, and everything, plus, author visits can also spark ideas to write about.

It is always beneficial to have an author visit your school! There are so many reasons why you should book a visit for the upcoming school year. Not only is it fun, but it’s also educational and entertaining.

I do in-person school visits, but I also offer live Skype visits and readings with schools that are abroad. Please contact pandapublishing8@gmail.com for more information.

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What is Your Definition?

August 10, 2018- What is your definition of being a successful author? This is the question that I ALWAYS ask the authors that I work with; whether self-published or traditional, it’s important to be able to answer this!

You are the only one who can define success and everyone’s definition and idea of success is different. Here are some answers I’ve received over the years after posing the question:

  • If I sell $1 million dollars worth of books
  • If kids read my book in their school
  • If I have a huge house, and an in-ground pool, and a convertible
  • If people line up to see me at book signings
  • If I become famous around the world
  • If someone tells me I’m their favourite author
  • If my book helps one person
  • If a celebrity reads my book and gives me a shout out on social media
  • If I’m a bestseller on the NY Times list
  • If I get a tv interview
  • If my book gets turned into a movie

So, as you can see, there are a lot of DIFFERENT versions of success and it’s all dependent on how you choose to define it! Write down your version of success and start working towards that goal. There are no wrong answers! Remember, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. Here’s to your success, whatever that may be.

X LLB

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If I Can’t Take My Book…

July 13, 2018- If I can’t take my book I’m not going! I saw this scrawled across a t-shirt while in Starbucks one afternoon and I chuckled to myself because that’s entirely me.

I bring a book with me wherever I go. I’m not kidding; I’m a fan of paperbacks, which works well most of the time for convenience and portability, but every now and then I will bring my Kindle or read on my phone. I know, nothing beats the feel and experience of a real book in hand, but desperate times…

Last year I was able to read 52 books in a year, that’s one a week, and here’s how I did it. I read during the spaces in between as I like to call them. I read on planes, trains, and in automobiles. I read while waiting at the doctor’s office, while waiting for clients, and I even listen to books if I’m commuting somewhere. There are so many choices for voracious readers that I ask you, what do you choose? Are you a die-hard Kindle user? Do you prefer hardcover books? Do you listen to audiobooks? Do you carry a paperback with you wherever you go? Sound off in the comments below and let me know where and how you choose to read!

You can order this If I Can't Take My Book I'm Not Going t-shirt design on several different sizes, colors, and styles of shirts including short sleeve shirts, hoodies, and tank tops.  Each shirt is digitally printed when ordered, and shipped from Northern California.

 

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May Schedule

May 1, 2018- Alright friends, here is the May schedule of book signings and upcoming events! I hope to see you out and about because I love meeting old and new friends!

May 3, 2018– I have the privilege of speaking to a fantastic group of women about the Business of Writing and Memoirs at the Westover Women’s Institute. I can’t wait to share some ideas and chat with some fabulous ladies!

May 4, 2018– I will be the guest author at a school in Hamilton where I will be sharing all of our picture book titles, Panda the Very Bad Cat, Phillip Star, and Deer Diary with the students. These visits are as much fun for me as they hopefully are for the students.

May 12, 2018– Author L.L. Colling will be signing copies of her newest thriller, Obsessed with Her at Indigo Erin Mills from 12:00-3:00; Stop by to say hello and get your copy signed!

May 19, 2018– Obsessed with Her book signing event. Meet the author, L.L. Colling at Indigo Burlington from 12:00-3:00!

May 26, 2018-L.L. Colling continues her tour of Obsessed with Her and will be stopping by Coles in Welland. You’ll be able to get your very own copy signed and chat with the author.

More events to come! Stay tuned for updates.

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Are You Making These Mistakes?

April 11, 2018-Here are some excellent examples of mistakes that aspiring creative writers make! Which ones are you making?

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Finishing Your Novel…How To

March 8, 2018- I feel that the title to this particular post is slightly misleading. It’s not really a How-To type of post, but rather some real world tips on I personally finished two novels this year. I’m no different than you are. I have a family, pets, a household and I am the head of two companies and counting. I am a wife, a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a writer, a publisher, a public speaker, a teacher, and I enjoy lots of different hobbies in my free time, just like you! With all of these demands on my time, how is it even remotely possible that I’d be able to finish one novel in a year, let alone two? Here’s a not so secret, secret; I write when I can, wherever I can, when there are spaces in between.

That’s not saying that I’m not disciplined with my writing, but there are some days that get skipped because there are more pressing demands on my time. Personally, this is my process and this process will be different from author to author.

  1. I start with an idea– I have at least 6 notebooks that are packed to the brim with story ideas or as I like to call them, story starters. That’s not to say that I’ll use all of them or any of them, but this allows me to start brainstorming when inspiration strikes. I read them every now and again and more often than not, they lead me to begin forward motion on my writing.
  2. I create an outline-If anyone has sat in on any of my classes, they know how mental I am about outlining! Outlining allows me to know what the story is about, where it’s going, and how it ends. I don’t need to know every single detail, but I need a general idea and some good bones of the story to get a feel for it.  Sometimes my outlines are elaborate, sometimes they’re simple. It depends and most of the time there is no rhyme or reason for which way I decide to do it.
  3. I write in between-As mentioned earlier in my post, I write in scraps of time that I manage to pull together here and there. I write in notebooks, and on pieces of napkin, on backs of discarded envelopes, and on my phone. I write wherever I can and whenever I can. I write while waiting in the doctors office, I write while on hold on a phone call, I write in my truck if I arrive ten minutes early to an appointment and I write in between meetings. THIS is the single most effective thing that I have ever done to finish my novels, because let’s face it, no one sits down to start and finish a novel all in one shot.

With all things considered, I urge you to write in a disciplined manner, setting aside blocks of time each day to tackle your novel, but don’t neglect those stolen moments.

Keep Writing,

LLB

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