I had to make a decision that was really hard for me as a freelance illustrator: I had to decide to pull out of an assignment. The deadline for the picture book assignment was just too tight. I have worked day and night for the past 2 1/2 months, barely stopping to enjoy the holidays, running myself raw. My "free time" has been filled with creating new sample pieces, adding to my website, creating "give-aways", promoting myself, trying to keep the fiery momentum going. Freelance business can be oh-so volatile. I had wished for projects like this to come in June, July and August. Instead, they all came at once - during the holidays no less! And business rarely ever goes according to the schedule sent to you, especially in November and December when everyone's schedule is up for grabs. So....I realized that taking the job would have meant compromising my other current assignments, and nothing would have received 100% of my effort. By "nothing" I mean my assignments. And my students. And meetings. And the patients at the chiopractic clinic. And more importantly really, my friends, family, and myself. It is so hard to strike a balance at times, isn't it? And it is really hard to say "no" to assignments. Especially good ones - like PUBLISHED BOOKS! But I felt a sense of relief at the thought of not having this deadline hovering over me: a week to research and complete rough sketches, and then a week and a half for FINISHED, full-color art!! So yesterday I did something I have not done in at least 3 months: lie on my sofa with the dog, a wool blanket, a cup of hot cocoa and the television remote.