My 2020 Successes

This year I am participating in Julie Hedlund’s “12 Days of Christmas for Writers.” She has challenged us today to publicly post our successes for the year. When I first heard this I was sad, because all I could think about was the pandemic and all the challenges we have all been going through. Then I started taking inventory of all the work I’ve done this year in my pursuit of becoming a traditionally published author/illustrator. O-M-G. I can’t believe all that I did, especially under the circumstances. I feel that this is a testimony to the power of having a creative world to dive into when the “mud” hits the fan. If you have an idea of something I should pursue or investigate in 2021, please leave me a comment. So, without further ado, here is my list of SUCCESSES:

What was the escape hatch / magic portal you created for yourself during 2020?

  1. I’m here. I’m alive. I haven’t given up. I still have hope for the future. I believe that good things are coming.
  2. Change helps me grow. I have grown through many challenges this year and have learned a lot about myself and what is most important to me.
  3. I participated in 11 online writing workshops.
  4. I read over 100 books this year. (MG, GN, and PB).
  5. I wrote 20 new manuscripts this year. These are fully fleshed out stories, some of which I have begun illustrating. One of these was my first Nonfiction Picture Book and another was my first early reader Graphic Novel.
  6. I revised 5 older manuscripts.
  7. I created 10 other story ideas that I haven’t developed fully yet.
  8. I completed 15 picture book dummies. (This was a big OMG for me).
  9. I compiled 1 complete GN submission proposal including manuscript, first chapter, and art samples.
  10. I participated in The 100 Day Project and got to 60/100. Not too shabby.
  11. I participated in Folk Tale Week for the first time and illustrated a story based on the prompts. That’s 7 full color spreads in one week!
  12. I drew about 75 other vignettes, just for fun.
  13. I entered 6 competitive contests and received recognition in 2 of them.
  14. I won 3 professional critiques.
  15. I gave 150 critiques.
  16. I participated in 5 pitch events on Twitter. I received requests from 3 agents.
  17. I submitted work to 14 agents this year. This was a big step forward for me.
  18. I was interviewed by 2 publications and was requested to write my first book review.
  19. I’ve made a lot of writer and illustrator friends this year. ūüôā
  20. In my other realm of art facilitation, I held a workshop at the Discovery Children’s Museum, received funding for a youth project in 2021 from Clark County, and received two teaching artist grants to produce video lessons, also in 2021.

Whew! No wonder I’m exhausted. I think I’ll go take a nap now.

Sending love to you all and wishing you a safe and healthy New Year!

Bonnie

Wild & Free

This is what it feels like to finish cancer treatment! I did it. I survived. I am humbled and ultimately a better person because of it. And, yes, it sucked. I am still a little angry about the whole thing, actually, but just a little bit, deep down where I hardly notice it anymore.

Now is where the fun part begins. I get to live again. I might not be base jumping any time soon, but I’ve started moving my body fast enough to feel my heart-beat again. This is a quality of life improvement that I am ready to fully embrace.

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True As Blue

Deep in my heart I’ve been wanting to write a Children’s Picture Book about global climate change and our role as stewards of this beautiful planet we live on. I’ve been waiting for a story to come to me ever so patiently. Then, just yesterday it appeared! As I sat in my backyard and wrote in my journal next to my favorite tree, the words came through my hand and I don’t even really know how. I believe it may have been from a source outside of myself. It felt like an out of body experience. I love it when that happens!

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HeART of Discovery!

I’m facilitating a collaborative mural project for the Discovery Children’s Museum! On Saturday, August 3rd from 10am – 1pm we will be in the Discovery Lab working on a visitor-created piece of collaborative art in celebration of Art Appreciation Month at the Discovery Children’s Museum here in Las Vegas. I’m so excited to be a part of it.

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Going with the Flow

creek

I felt well enough today to write a blog post! Yay! Chemotherapy treatment for Breast Cancer is no picnic, but I did manage to get out to Mt. Charleston last weekend. It was a little frustrating because I could only make it to this little creek. I didn’t even make it all the way to Little Falls, a hike I normal would consider a “baby hike.” With anemia and general fatigue weighing me down at 7,000 feet, I just didn’t have it in me. But it was nice to just sit and listen to the water flow. I am reminded that I too am in the flow of healing.

A lot of what I’m going through emotionally reminds me of when I was pregnant. So much scaling back of all the things a normally love to do. Although I won’t get a beautiful baby out of this deal, I do hope to gain a life in remission from cancer.

My creative projects have had to shift to a glacial timeframe of development as well. This is especially dangerous for a person like me, because when I’m lying down, I think of new things I want to create. I have a growing list of projects I want to initiate, develop and complete once I get through this year of treatment. Even as I am waiting this time out, I am grateful for the experience. Cancer has given me a new awareness of who I am and what I’m here to do. Yes, there is always a bright side, even to cancer.

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Happy Little Trees

Started my day today watching an episode of Bob Ross and following some of his advice as I created my own version of “Happy Little Trees.” What an inspiration he was. Such a lovely person. He always says, “don’t copy me, make it your own. Make the place you want to go to.” I feel like I’ve been there all day, even while I’m roaming around in my urban desert home. I’m still there among those happy little trees. Magic. Thank you, Bob!

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May your day be filled with happy trees of any size.

Bonnie


Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books that celebrate diversity, creativity, and all the special qualities that make each of us unique.

©Bonnie Kelso and Creating Your ExperienceVitalize Your Creative Life is a workbook based on a series of classes I designed based on creating from the energetic space of your inner child. In this workbook, I encourage you to rediscover the creative kid inside of you by coloring, scribbling, and even drawing stick figures. This is a very approachable book for people who want to begin exploring their creative life in a playfully spiritual way. Read more…

Igniting Artemis

Happy Thanksgiving!

I always feel that I have so much to be grateful for. I really do, even when things are not so awesome. Gratitude is what has kept me going over the years. It’s what keeps me connected to spirit and source.

I was recently gratitude-gifted with a beautiful smoky citrine generator crystal. Isn’t it just gorgeous? (note: buy crystals from nice people) This act of gratitude compelled me to start igniting my new character, Artemis. I’m getting amazing results already. So much inspiration is starting to pour in, it’s hard to keep up with it all.

So on this full moon Thanksgiving, I’ve set up a little altar by my workspace. I even created my own little 3D Artemis out of sculpey. She’s got her magician’s cloak on and we’re ready to make some serious children’s book magic. In addition to the altar, I’ve got a moon calendar starting tonight. So, this cycle will go from full moon to the winter solstice.

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New! A Playbook for Creative People

dinoHow do you record all of the ideas and insights that come to you every day? Dean and I have been using these customizable¬†Playbooks¬†for the last few years. I’ve made a few adjustments over the years and now I am ready to let you give it a try as well. This tool is in the testing stage so I am very open to receiving feedback on how you use it, what you like about it and how you think it could be improved.

I understand that they may not be ideal for everyone, nor are they meant to be used by everyone. They work well for me and Dean, but we have extremely busy minds that love to document growth as it comes to us in all sorts of symbols, dreams and messages from all the mysterious realms of life.

PlaybookCoverSM tiltIf you are looking for a new creative planner to try this next year to keep your thoughts organized and track your daily evolution, I hope you will give this Playbook a try. It has been an amazing benefit to my own spiritual and professional development as a creative person over the past few years. I love starting each day with a cup of coffee and My Playbook.

I look forward to hearing what your experience of it is. It’s currently available through Amazon so you can order a copy to use for this coming 2019 annual cycle.

Here’s a short video showing you mine and how I use it. I’ve upgraded the cover and fixed a few typos, but for the most part the interior is exactly as shown. It’s 8.5 x 11″ so you can write and draw BIG! ūüôā

May all your creative ideas be recorded and treasured!

With love,

Bonnie


Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates children’s books that celebrate diversity, creativity, and all the special qualities that make each of us unique. Her book EVER OPEN is now available on Amazon in print and for kindle.

EverOpenCoverTilt

 

Deep in the heart of the Everglades, 26 tiny eggs are beginning to hatch in a giant nest under a tall cypress tree. The fourth alligator to see the light of day is about to embark on a classic hero’s journey. Join Baby D as he explores his world through the innocence and wonder of a natural dreamer. Discover what makes him special while pondering what it might be that makes you special, too.

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Enjoy!

x,

Bonnie


Bonnie Kelso writes¬†and illustrates children’s books that celebrate diversity, creativity, and all the special qualities that make each of us unique. Her book EVER OPEN is now available on Amazon in print and for kindle.

EverOpenCoverTiltDeep in the heart of the Everglades, 26 tiny eggs are beginning to hatch in a giant nest under a tall cypress tree. The fourth alligator to see the light of day is about to embark on a classic hero’s journey. Join Baby D as he explores his world through the innocence and wonder of a natural dreamer. Discover what makes him special while pondering what it might be that makes you special, too.