Monday, May 11, 2009

for my next act...

When I was growing up in Chicago, I used to watch Bozo's Circus on our old b/w TV. I liked the band. The clown was lame.
I remember one show vividly. Bozo had a guest act. A plate spinner. The guy had 7 or so vertical rods on which he placed ceramic plates, setting them spinning with his hands. The act was putting all 7 plates on the rods and keep them spinning fast enough so they wouldn't topple off. He wasn't very good at it.

Anyway, even as a kid the act really stressed me out.

There have been many times in my life when I've felt like that plate spinner. Running to and fro frantically, sweating unglamorously, trying to keep too many projects spinning at the same time. Desperate not to let a too-long ignored project topple and smash.

Expecting any moment to hear the tune the band played when someone blew it.

What do other writers or illustrators do to stay focused on the important project? I know what is my top priority, I just keep getting pulled away from it.


Erik Brooks said...

Hey Paul, we met briefly at last year's SCWBI WWA. Congrats on all of the great projects, and I guess the juggling act simply goes hand-in-hand. I do the same thing, and the subsequent adrenaline rush/stress relief caused by jumping around between projects seems pretty much inevitable. Personally, on certain projects I NEED that push and pull to create the survival "stress" instinct to eventually break through a final barrier or two and get the important project done, but sometimes it doesn't feel very sustainable over the long haul. I definitely live in occassional fear of dropping a plate!

Paul Schmid said...

Hey Eric, will I be seeing you at the conference this weekend?

Erik Brooks said...

Alas, no WWA SCBWI Conference for me this year. It WAS really great in '08, but "fine in '09" seemed like a step down, so I stayed home... In all seriousness :) I just simple couldn't do the extra few days of travel this year. I went to the NYC Mid-winter in February, plus I've done a lot of school visits this spring. Time for a weekend home with the family, but I'll certainly hope to go again soon.