Why pessimism is pointless

Cutting illustration boardsI’m cutting illustration boards into 29.8 cm squares (the perfect dimension) for my latest book project and I’m bursting with excitement to get going on the illustrations!

I don’t know about you, but for me there is something irresistible about finding out what someone is passionate about and the projects they work on in private. It’s both fascinating and inspiring. The excitement is contagious. It makes me want to jump headfirst into my own passion-driven projects with renewed vim.

I used to talk openly about anything I was working on with anybody who asked. That’s changed. Now I hold back. What happened to change my mind? I encountered difficult attitudes.

Cynicism, doubt, judgment, arrogance. Take your pick. I can sum them all up with one word: pessimism. I’m sure you’ve met the type. Some malcontented misanthropes take special glee in dumping buckets of cold water on any fresh idea that threatens to spark up. Someone I know has proudly labeled herself a pessimist, claiming that pessimism is better for your health than optimism. She quoted a study that came to this very conclusion. It’s one of those cute and soft pseudo-science factoids of the day that makes for a catchy radio sound bite on the morning commute. Rubbish! I can point to a slew of valid scientific studies that come to the opposite conclusion, so that argument doesn’t hold any water.

The prevailing argument for pessimism is that it is a “dose of reality”. It isn’t. Pessimists molest you with their self-righteous, cranky, glass-half-rotten opinions served on a soured scowl and a kick in your teeth for “your own good”. Don’t get me wrong, I think a healthy dose of skepticism is a necessary part of anything I do. But there is a wide ocean that separates the shores of skepticism from pessimism. They are not the same. Skepticism employs logic and critical thinking. Pessimism is an unresolved childhood.

Am I so thin-skinned that I can’t take criticism from others? Far from it. But pessimists discourage, which is not at all useful. Instead, I often take advice that helps steer my projects in the right direction. For instance, when I self-published my first book I met with publishers, bookshop owners and many other writers and illustrators who have self-published to learn how I can make my own books successful. As a result, I have changed my approach to self-publishing, and three books later I’m still learning and adjusting.

Well, that’s it for today! I’ll make a point of showing you teasers from my new project as it develops. I’d love to get your opinions and advice to make my next book a viral success. In fact, I’m in the midst of promoting my latest book Dwellers of Lurching Swill. Do you know a publisher, do you have a favourite bookshop? Do you know a book reviewer, television show, podcast or a website that could promote my work? Maybe another blog that would feature my book? Please send me your suggestions. Until next time, stay warm!

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