I guess this is something I’m still learning, because I’ve blogged about it before (I’ll try to find those posts and link back here).
The other day, my cousin sent me a photo of her niece sitting and drawing, and a story she had written. She said that she “wants to write story books like you”.
It was in that moment of awww-ness that I was reminded why I love publishing my work: to inspire other people, that <insert dream here> can be done.
When I was studying to become a teacher, my sister asked me why I wanted to. I said, people are most happy and fulfilled when they’re confident in themselves and doing stuff they love. If even 10% more people were able to do things they love – not just some job to pay the bills – can you imagine what the world would be like?
That’s still my goal. What’s changed is that it’s my goal for myself – one I’ve done well at for the past few years.
What I realised this morning is that I don’t actually care what people think about my books.
(How liberating is that?)
At first, the validation from people I respected was important. Now… well, sure, a good review makes me smile and a bad one stings. But I no longer need the validation.
If my aim was for my books to be popular, I’d have followed the rules of the genre; if I wanted to win a literary prize, I’d have refined my use language (and they would probably triple in size!); if I wanted the prestige of being an artist, I’d approach galleries; if I wanted my colouring books to be bestsellers, I’d have made more delicate drawings.
But I didn’t do any of those things, because that’s not why I make art. Art, for me, is an expose of vulnerability; of truth. My truth. And that can’t possibly be judged.
So what drives me? Sharing my truth, and helping other people share theirs.