My book, Drawing Your Life, is the largest single project I’ve ever undertaken. When I started I knew I had 208 pages to fill and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t daunted. (I have produced a number of short eBooks but was able to produce those at my own pace.)
Living with Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue syndrome means that I’m a little like an old rechargeable battery that no longer holds much of a charge. Each day I have a very limited amount of energy and I have to make decisions about how best to make use of it.
Over the years I’ve learned a lot about focusing my available energy on just one thing each day that I decide is most important. As much as possible I try to make that one thing a creative something. On most days whilst I was making Drawing Your Life that one thing was working on the book.
I began by splitting the book into manageable chunks. I drew 104 lines on the blackboard in my studio—one line for each two page spread of the book. I then aimed to work on one spread at a time in short twenty minute chunks. Some of the simpler spreads could be completed in one session; some took many 20-minute blocks. Working this way I knew I only had to work for twenty minutes and that if I kept repeating the process I would eventually have a finished book. As I finished each spread I crossed a line off on my blackboard and had a little celebration.
Drawing Your Life is a book was created in short blocks of time — and it is a book that can be used in short blocks of time.
If you have a hankering to draw your own life, but don’t feel as though you have the energy or the time, think again. In the book you’ll find lots of encouragement to pick up a pen or pencil and make a small drawing of something right in front of you. And if you keep doing one little drawing at a time, you’ll eventually have a book full of drawings of your life.
Michael Nobbs is an artist, blogger and tea drinker — not necessarily in that order. In the late 1990s he was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and now blogs and tweets about drawing, keeping things simple, and maintaining a creative career despite limited energy. His book, Drawing Your Life: Learn to See Record and Appreciate Life’s Small Joys has just been published by Perigee/Penguin. Check out his website at: http://www.sustainablycreative.com.
Follow him on Twitter @michaelnobbs