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This post is about knowing your goals and staying focused even when opportunities come knocking. If you’re a capable person who likes to help others, sometimes it is difficult to say, ‘no’.

I recently received another request. Without revealing anything about the person who asked if I’d be interested in an illustration job, here is pretty much how I replied.

Hello XX,

Thanks for your interest in my work. Yes, I do work with watercolour, too.

And I’m also a writer. In fact, I returned to Chisholm Institute three years after my Dip Arts (Professional Writing and Editing) because We were taught that publishers don’t like you to submit illustrations with your manuscript – unless you are an illustrator as well.

As it was mid-year and there was no intake for new illustration students, I enrolled in Visual Arts, opening up an even broader range of opportunities – that I had to narrow after my studies. There wasn’t time to do it all (nor room at home to store all the paraphernalia required).

Now I have a clear vision of where I want to go in my career. In July I registered the Mind Drawing business name, attended small business events offered by the government (there are many free resources available), defined my values and goals and developed a business plan.

Of late I’ve been using my writing skills for business purposes (grant application, marketing, copy writing, and to support my touring exhibition, Mind Drawing Children’s Stories); but I still stop to write down a poem, prose or a children’s story when the muse visits.

How all this relates to your question, XX, is that my focus is on my exhibition and the workshops and other community engagement activities that will accompany the body of work as it tours venues in Victoria.

I am also looking ahead to my next project (Mind Drawing Shakespeare), in which I shall leverage the success of the current project and follow my blueprint to research and produce a new touring exhibition of Mind Drawings, based on the writing and life of William Shakespeare.

So, as you might have deduced, I’m don’t have room in my plans to hook up as an illustrator. Haha! I haven’t really got time in my schedule to illustrate my own children’s books at this stage!

But don’t be disheartened. Unless you are planning to self publish, you don’t need to find an illustrator. It’s important to allow room for the publisher to have their creative input into their publications. Of course, the writer is always part of the discussions, too.

Do you belong to a writing group? A good group of like-minded, creative people is invaluable. You support each other in many ways as you take the journey together.

Mine (Lazy River Writers) has been together for more than 16 years. Lovely friends and writers. I’m the only one working across disciplines in that group, though someone in SODs, my other writing group, does both, too.

I wish you well with your journey as a wordsmith.