Writer? Illustrator? Six reasons you’re in a personal development bootcamp

Ever since I started coaching aspiring and established authors and illustrators over at girlandduck.com, I’ve been saying the same thing:

This is a personal development bootcamp, honey!

Remember when Goldie Hawn joined the US army in Private Benjamin? She thought it would be a lark. Maybe they’d do a little stretching, some ‘jogging’ (remember jogging?), some gentle yoga?

Buh Bow!


When you sign up to be a writer/illustrator/weirdo you’re signing up for way more than a bit of idle scribbling and some colouring in.


But what do I actually mean when I say it’s a personal development bootcamp? What makes it so challenging?

Let me count the ways, darling…

1 Self-doubt

You’re going to have to sit with it day in, day out. Possibly your entire career. And if you have a successful career, that can mean years.

YEARS of self-doubt stalking you like a Femme Fatale. Just when you think you’ve got self-doubt defeated, she sashays straight back in, luring you into another binge session, another bender…

Your challenge? Figure out how to deal with self-doubt.


2 Public speaking

If you have even a modicum of success, you’ll be thrown in at the deep end.

Public speaking is a KILLER for countless creatives.

BUT you cannot hide under a rock AND further your career. Those days are over.

The good people wanna see your shiny dial and they wanna hear what you’ve got to say.

Your challenge? Figure out how to deal with public speaking.


3 Isolation

Like Anne Lamott constantly examining her teeth in the mirror, there will be many, MANY days when you find your own company not only boring but also wildly disturbing.

On those days, I tend to play with my hair. A lot. Or daydream about being French. Search for jobs in David Jones. Buy another self-help book…

Your challenge? Figure out how to deal with isolation.


4 Silence

The good people in publishing will ignore you.

Time and time again, you’ll submit stuff, probably beautiful work you’ve sweated over for months, sometimes years, and what will be the response?

Let’s face it. They’re ugly little fockers…


Your challenge? Figure out how to deal with silence.

 5 Love

You might end up being loved. Admired. The centre of attention.

That’s hard. That’s confronting. That’s exhausting.

Sure, fandom is fun in small doses.


Holy Happy Goddess, if you’re an introvert, the spotlight can make you SQUIRM like an ant under a magnifying glass (what is it with this insect theme?).

Anyway, too much love from the public can also be addictive.

You’ve gotta learn to step back from that shit. Stay centred. Grounded. You’ve got to learn to shine AND be humble.

Being humble (ahem). With my homie, Mitch Vane.

Your challenge? Figure out how to deal with love.


Or lack thereof.

Unless you’ve got yourself a sweet lovin’ sugar daddy, this bootcamp is going to throw you all sorts of money issues.

And if you turn your back on those, or swallow the starving artist myth, well, then you’ll be cactus.

From the remarkable yet little known book, ‘Is My Cactus Dead?’

Being broke SUCKS.

In this bootcamp it pays to sort out your money shit pronto. (Pun intended.)

There’s no employer here to catch you. No one to pay you sick leave, get your super sorted, help with the babies.

Nothin’ and no-one except YOU.

Remember: You’re in bootcamp now.

Look sharp!

You’ve gotta keep marching, keep moving forward. You’ve gotta keep your pretty little head held high.

Your challenge? Find ways to THRIVE despite it all!



I’m with you on that. I can help. Just ask me. Cos I am the JENeral!

Go forth, beautiful creator. CREATE despite it all.

Embrace the bootcamp. Revel in the bootcamp. Let it work its rough magic on you. It will make you the BEST version of yourself.

I promise.

Jen xoxo

Bonus question:

How much money does a ‘bestselling, award winning kidlit author’ make in Australia?

Answer: No idea. No one ever talks about money

But I do.

Tomorrow (Saturday September 1) on Q and Q Friday I talk money and I talk NUMBERS.

It’s a private video. It’ll only be on the playlist for one week.

So, if you want to catch that, subscribe to Q and Q Friday, today!

See you then!

6 Replies to “Writer? Illustrator? Six reasons you’re in a personal development bootcamp”

  1. Dear Jen,

    I was sitting at my desk contemplating my newly tinted eyebrows (they are really bloody dark! What was I thinking?) when your email popped up and instead of drawing/PDFing/emailing or whatever other boring crap I’m supposed to be doing, I happily read your article.

    I’d like to thank you for another amazingly accurate article. This year has been a particularly tough year for me and articles like this remind me I am not alone (well I am cos the dogs, cats and chickens don’t count) but not really alone.

    There are so many of us just hanging out in our spaces, working away, listening to our own self depreciating twaddle, wanting companionship but not wanting to be around people and all the while thinking our struggle is unique.

    It’s not.

    And knowing that makes me feel better J

    Thank you x


    P.S. I like that you also have an alternate job fantasy. Mine is to make soap and witchy willow circles while living off grid, preferably near a river but not too far from the sea… Nothing too specific J

    Jedda Robaard M 0418351712 E jedda@jeddarobaard.com.au W http://www.jeddarobaard.com.au F http://www.facebook.com/jedda.illustrations I http://www.instagram.com/jeddarobaard


  2. Hmmm really spoke to me where I am. I relate to it all. Such a fantastically written article, feeling the feels of putting it out there and also having isolation on my journey ( when not doing the family responsibilities!
    Do I really have to work out how to deal with public speaking?😳

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