Ten Years

I love this bit from a recent Creative Mornings interview:

My illustrations have evolved stylistically in the past 10 years. Originally, my work was heavily influenced by low brow art and depicted a grungier aesthetic. I was very determined to create a career out of illustration and came to the realisation that I would need to refine my style into an aesthetic that was more commercially viable. With this came a long period of experimentation and research into different styles and techniques. Today, my illustration style is light-hearted in nature, playful and vibrant.

Sofia Varano

Every overnight success is ten years in the making, right? And probably longer. Hell, I turn 43 this year and I’m still trying to figure things out.

Assemble a Team

It only took me a few decades, but I feel like I have a team finally. Someone I riff idea with via text a few times a week. Someone I chat on the phone week a few times a week. Another that I swap emails with.

When I was doing Skull Toaster, I used to have a roster of writer friends helping me with the nightly newsletter. After awhile I started doing all the writing again, though I’m not sure why. One thing that I lost from that? The idea of team! There were no more emails that meandered into other subjects about home life, or day jobs, or puppies. Poof. Gone. And I know Skull Toaster suffered because of it.

See, that’s the thing about putting yourself out there; other people will see it. Which then leads to emails and conversations on Twitter. Then maybe you start working with those people who like your stuff. Or you join forces and start something else.

Replacing Bad Thoughts

In this video I riff on warding off negative self-talk by filling your brain with other, more positive things – like running!

When I was down in the dumps back in 2016, I knew I needed a change, so I started running. It was painful at first, and didn’t look good (still doesn’t), but it at least gave me a solid 1.5 hours per day where I thinking of something besides my usual pity-party that I was throwing for myself much too frequently.

That time added up, and before I knew it I was thinking about running (which means I wasn’t thinking about that grump-town garbage) when I wasn’t running, so that was more hours thinking of this posi-cool thing that I was really enjoying.

Mind you, running hurt. I started in the summer, too, so it was gross and sweaty. It was painful, uncomfortable, and a bit smelly. But all that was better than spending time thinking about how life was unfair.

For me, it was running, so it’s up to you to find your thing (and if it’s running get in touch and I’ll give you some pointers). To find something you enjoy, that can take an hour, and get you away from your daily grump-town visits.

That video also available as a podcast (Apple Podcasts), and on SoundCloud.

I’ve been able to string together four weeks in a row of running 20 miles. Tonight on the treadmill I had one of my fastest hour runs in awhile, having pushed out of my comfort zone a bit, fueled by the early afternoon burrito lunch.

Maybe it was the after effects of the run, or the post-workout beer, but tonight I signed up for a 10 mile race about 40 minutes away, this weekend.

This will be just the third time I’ve entered a 10+ mile race, with the previous two coming last year, in just 2nd year of running.

May 6, 2018 – Broad Street 10 miler in Philadelphia: 1:48:34 (10:51 pace)
Oct 21, 2018 – Runner’s World Half in Bethlehem, PA: 2:17:02 (10:25 pace)

During that Half I ran by fastest 10 miler, too, at 1:43:16. I’m not sure I’m on target for that this weekend, and I won’t really be trying, but it’d be nice to at least be in the low 1:40s, that’s for sure.

When I started running on July 7, 2016, I never thought that this would be what I do now, but here we are!

No Self Judgement

I’ve been saying for awhile to other creative folks, “just put stuff out there.” Do it consistently, do it often, and keep doing it.

Lately I’ve been eating my own dog food, and making these daily videos, which I also convert into a podcast (on Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud). I’ve found that just hitting record is the best way to do things, and not waiting for the lightning bolt of inspiration to hit.

Is it perfect? Not a chance, but this is just video #10, and I’m doing this in real time, testing and trying new things right before your eyes, so maybe you can learn along with me.

Since I’ve been working on this, and spreading my daily Good Vibes, I’ve gotten more messages and notes and DMs then when I wasn’t doing this sort of thing, so in that sense it’s working, and by working I just mean I get to talk to more pals everyday which means I love it.