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  • Writer's pictureAmy Burvall

Bursting Bubbles, Trashing Trolls

When is the last time you realized you had your own personal rain cloud pouring questions?

plathondoubt 2

This is what I call an impromptu post, and it’s happening because within hours of each other two of my favourite friends – creative and successful gentlemen I admire profoundly – were brave enough to publicly disclose something…

They are scared.

Or maybe they were scared, but somehow soldiered on.

Thankfully for the rest of us they pushed through their internal naysaying and continued with their respective creative processes…but I think it’s worth taking a few minutes to connect some dots.


First, Brad Ovenell-Carter, renown for his sketchnoting with the Paper app by Fifty-Three among other things (like edtech leadership, pedagogical innovation, and whimsical lifeblogging), wrote this post, in which he reveals just how far he has come with his technique, encouraging others to take the risk to share while learning:

“How to Draw Better Sketchnotes”

I tend to be drawn to pithy catch phrases, especially if alliterated, so his “trash the (inner) troll” really jumped off the page. I drew some sketches in Paper by 53 (in my style, which is totally different than Brad’s) and made a little animation in Apple Keynote (though still not sure why it renders fuzzy for the first part in YouTube).

I certainly am familiar with what Brad calls “that vicious internal editor”, and wonder if that’s not necessarily a good thing at times.

Even Brad admitted today that:

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 4.42.00 PM

My second friend, who has published at least three books that I know of, is Damian Rentoule, an International Baccalaureate Middle School principal I have the privilege to work with.


He’s a surfer (and and Aussie) so you would think he’d be the ultimate risk-taker, but even Damian writes about his struggles with self-doubt:

“The Only One Who Truly Doesn’t Believe in You” 

The sticky part of course is his revelation that

“you are alone, but only within the restrictive bubble of your own self-doubt”

It led me to draw this:


Perhaps J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, sums it up best:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it”

I am certainly thrilled to have friends like these brilliant yet humble gentlemen and benefit greatly from their courage in being open and frank in reminding us that all artists grapple with inner demons – doubt being one of the most stifling.

What about you? What are your methods of breaking that bubble and trashing that troll?


#writing #BradOvenellCarter #DamianRentoule #SylviaPlath #selfdoubt #creativity #confidence #transparency #JMBarrie

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