Meet Twig. He’s a lot more travel-sized, if you’re looking for a dinosaur that’s not a bird. He makes up for his size by being extra friendly and huggable.
Last month Tango found a good place to sing, but just in case you didn’t meet him last month, I will start this little adventure from the beginning…
Wow, the last time Twig was featured was the last time he had an update! When I make these monthly posts I also use the last feature for the critter as a template to work with, that way everything stays consistent with each other. The last time Twig had an update I was growing baby #4, so it’s been quite a while! I’ve come so far since then, and yet there’s something that hasn’t changed at all.
It’s all about the little steps.
You might have a super-busy, stressful life with a full time job (or even two jobs) you hate. Or you might have a life filled to the brim with the people and work you love, but still want to fulfill that dream of writing a book or painting.
It doesn’t matter where you live or what season of life you are in, you can still start on your dream.
I don’t have the time, skill, or education that others have. I’ve never had professional instruction in illustration or art. I have [five] young children, a loving husband to support, and a house to keep. I have a million excuses for why I can’t continue doing this, for why I should never have started. You’re busy too. We’re all busy, and anyone could have excuses for never starting.
The important thing is to start, and to keep taking little steps.
Progress may be slow, and the task may be a bit big to chew, but slow progress is still progress. Little steps add up, and before you know it 5 or 20 minutes here and there has turned into something amazing. 🙂
This still resonates very strongly in me today. Possibly even more so now, because now I have five children instead of three-going-on-four, and so have even more excuses why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do this.
At times, the threat of being overwhelmed by responsibilities and the call of one’s strongest desires can be quite strong. It’s times like these when I focus on how much I adore my beautiful family and my life, and how much I truly am accomplishing even with the impossibly small moments I take to work on fulfilling this dream.
I’m still taking little steps. And those little steps have really added up to a lot! It’s been a full month, with lots of bugs and the completion of Tango and Twig’s story, but I still managed to get a little progress done on my collection. Even if it’s a slow, drippy leak, if you stick a bucket under it you’ll get a full bucket of water if you give it enough time. My bucket is not quite full yet, but I’m starting to see a few inches of water at the bottom, which is pretty cool considering how slow the proverbial drip is. 😀
Mostly for a reminder to myself (because it’s helpful to list these things on occasion), here is what I actually have…
- A collection of fourteen short stories that will soon be ready for publication, and all the illustrations to accompany those stories
- The illustrated profiles of twenty-six prehistoric characters in the “shop”
- The completion of the Kayenta Formation series.
- The complete exploration of Jurassic Insects series
- And more recently, my regular presence on my Instagram account, which document both monthly and now weekly posts.
It’s a nice little list. Not a lot, but it’s not nothing either. I’ll be happier when I have my collection finished and on my bookshelf.
Which brings me to my next thought.
Many of the more recent additions to the site, such as weekly posts, have really taken from the time I could dedicate to finishing the collection. I plan on continuing the weekly posts, but the next few monthly posts will be much simpler. No new stories or updated illustrations. I hope that by focusing my efforts I can finish the collection by the end of the year. Of course I will post my progress as usual during monthly posts. 🙂
Since this post falls on a Thursday this week’s Fossil Friday will be postponed until next week on Oct. 9th. I want these posts to continue to be fun and I don’t want to post anything rushed or sloppy. So postponing for a week will give me a bit of breathing room after the mad rush this month has been.
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time out of your day to come see prehistoric critters. It really means a lot to me. 🙂
Coming nov. 1st…
She may look tough and prickly, but she’s really a big softy. 🙂
Share your guess in the comments! She’s one of the critters over on the critter page. 🙂
6 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Compsognathus”
I love the story! It’s amazing how you can have an inciting incident, climax, and resolution in less than 100 words. Talk about flash fiction! 😛 And I really like how you played with perspective and posing–the style really adds to the story!
Honestly, seeing everything you’ve done has been a big motivator in my own little projects! Anytime I find myself with 30 minutes here and 15 minutes there, I’m like, woah…I have so much time. But when there are so many things on the dream list, it’s hard to decide what step to take first. What questions do you like to ask yourself when deciding if something takes priority or not?
Thank you Brownie, I’m glad you like it! I had a lot of fun with this little story. So many early readers don’t really have much when it comes to actual story, so it was an nice little challenge to have such a short flash that also had words my kids could read. I’ll give you the secret to writing flash. Tiny conflicts have quick resolutions. If you’re having trouble staying within your word count, and the problem is not redundancy or too much description, then your conflict may be too big for the story.
Conflict, the scope of it, and how many people it affects are the biggest things to determine if your story is best for flash, short story, novella, or a full length novel or series. 🙂
As for deciding what to pursue with the limited time we have…start by making a list of all the things you want to achieve. Determine the one that means the most to you. Why it matters. Why it matters to YOU. This is a perfectly self-serving exercise, which sounds very naughty but really is the best thing for others as well. After all, this is your own personal goal, if you don’t choose something that matters to you, and know WHY it matters for you, then any attempt to accomplish it will fall flat.
Like anything worth creating, if it doesn’t matter to you on a deep and personal level, it won’t matter to anyone else either. We also cannot serve from an empty cup, and the personal dreams we wish to accomplish are a way to ensure we are serving others from a place of fulfillment and richness instead of resentment.
Once you’ve determined the what and why, then comes the part of writing down all the tiny steps it takes to accomplish it, and detailing what you will do every day to complete these tasks.
That’s the bare bones of the process, but I’ll share with you Holly Lisle’s free worksheets. It was through her free workshop and podcast that I outlined my goals for this year. 🙂 A bit of a warning that there is some swearing on her podcast, but it is well worth it.
Here’s the link. The worksheets are free, and they go over them in detail during the podcast linked on the page.
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Thanks for the tips, that’s super helpful! Really good points on writing flash and deciding between short story, novella, or series. Your comment on determining the what and why before writing down the tiny steps was also very insightful. 😀 Thanks for sharing the worksheet, too! I’ll be sure to check it out!
You’re welcome! 🙂
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Greetings! I can sympathize with you pondering whether or not you should continue doing this since you have so many other family-related concerns taking up your time. I wouldn’t blame you if you quit. Still, your work is remarkable, and I have enjoyed it very much. Whether you decide to continue with this or not is entirely your decision, and nobody should try to push you one way or another.
Hi Jason, thank you! I’m glad you enjoy my work, and I truly enjoy it. Sometimes it’s good to just sit back and think about things. See where we started, and how far we’ve come. Many people use the busy-ness in their lives as an excuse not to pursue their dreams, because it can be frightening to venture into the unknown, and it takes a lot of careful management and discipline to pursue one’s dream while still caring for life responsibilities. Our relationships are too precious to throw them away in pursuit of inner desires, but that doesn’t mean we have to completely abandon any hope of fulfilling a dream.
I plan on continuing with the website and everything related to it for a very long time. I’m sorry if I made it sound like I was thinking of quitting, because that certainly wasn’t my intention. I was hoping to provide a little encouragement for anyone who hasn’t taken the leap yet. 🙂 I’m in this for the long haul! Sometimes I may have to pace myself or change how I do things, depending on what life brings, but the world of Pete’s Paleo Petshop is here to stay for as long as I’m physically capable of drawing prehistoric critters. 🙂 There are too many creatures, places, and time periods I have yet to explore! But thank you very much for being so understanding, I truly enjoy your visits. 🙂
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