I have just published my first children's book (so proud!) about 1 year after the idea of making children's books came to me, and about 10 months after I started giving it my proper time.
So where did all of this come from? And how did I do it?
It all started in April 2018. My Dad had died a year earlier and I wasn't coping well. I was miserable, lethargic, often ill, completely uninspired, indecisive and unmotivated. I was also realising for the first time how precious life is, and I felt I wasn't making the most of mine. I knew deep down that I could learn to be ok with his death and start living my life again, but I needed some help. So I booked myself in for a transformational workshop with Tierra Mitica, an incredible group of people I had met before in Peru, and got on a plane to California for 2 weeks that changed my life.
To cut a long story short, at the workshop I learned that I can be happy in the knowledge that I was lucky that I ever had a Dad, let alone an awesome one who loved me as much as he did. Choosing to substitute my misery with gratitude makes so much sense. And it allows me to be happy and appreciate what I have.
I also learned that I could do whatever I truly put my mind to. But I lacked the inspiration of what that should be. Someone asked me what I liked to do as a kid? And I told him how I used to love making little scrap books and project books and had notepads with pop-out sections about different family trips we went on. I loved drawing and writing and making silly things with paper (including strange but wonderful letters to my friend Caroline - see pic). So he suggested: "Why don't you make children's books?"
And the idea stuck like glue. A light flicked on inside me. Finally, a dream that inspired me and sounded super fun. And I knew I would be good at it. And even though I had absolutely no idea how I was going to do this, I knew that I wanted to make it happen. And would make it happen, no matter what.
I also decided to believe that I could do it. In dedication to my inner Little Tessa, I decided to make our dreams come true. I would stick with this idea and make it happen. I would do whatever it takes to give us the exciting life we'd always dreamed of having.
And that was it really.
I've just stuck at it and given it my all: working hard on improving my artwork, going on courses, writing then re-writing and re-writing stories again and again (Squirrel and the Three Bears went through 3 edits of words AND artwork).
Don't get me wrong, it's been hard work, both on paper and inside my head. For most of September and October last year I constantly fought the voices in my head that told me my work wasn't good enough. But, with the help of making the books, I've been re-programming my belief system with new beliefs that tell me there is nothing I cannot do, and that I trust myself that I am capable to do whatever I choose. And it's paying off. Now I tell myself that there is nothing I cannot do, and I must just give myself time to do it. And I am also learning to ask for help when I need it....which is why I wrote Squirrel and the Three Bears (but that's another story for another time).
So it's these three magic ingredients which helped Squirrel and the Three Bears become a finished, printed, beautiful, real-life book:
1. Sticking with the intention that I would make children's book NO MATTER WHAT;
2. Believing in myself and trusting my abilities and ability to learn; and
3. Learning to love my Little Tessa, so I want to make all her dreams come true.