Friday, December 26, 2008

A New View


Kathie Shoop

Well, another year has sped by and I’m afraid to look at the post I wrote for Working Stiffs last year. Would I have achieved anything that I suggested I would work on in the coming year? Wow, does it matter?

This year has been hard. As far as my writing goes, things have really stalled in the agent/publication arena. And because for some reason the rejection hit me hard this time, my creativity has suffered.

So, I have a plan to harness the inspiration that used live with me, in me, but has gone away in the last four months.

One thing I’m doing is reshaping my work life. Now that kids are in school, I need to construct a work life that leaves enough room for meditation, inspiration, and perspiration. Running around to do mindless errands doesn’t count. A long walk, sorting through article angles or plot points does.

It’s taken me four months to come to grips with the idea that walking, sitting, thinking, and being are part of my writing process, that it’s not just wasted time. When the kids were home with me, it was hard, but there were segments of time where I could tune out, pile the kids into the stroller, or paint with them, read with them, roll around on the floor with them, whatever…I managed to find points of “just being,” during those times and inspiration came to me. This fall I felt such pressure to produce stuff that between my regular paid work and the less lucrative writing, I wasn’t leaving anytime to entertain my muse. I demanded she show up, but she’s been MIA. Why not, I’ve been mean to her! There have been no boundaries between work and play—there’s been no play at all.

I know I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to shape my career, but even still, it feels risky, like I should do certain things just because others will sneer if I don’t. That thought is beginning to recede for me. I’m beginning to realize that as long as my family is provided for, I can take the path I need to, that in doing so, life will go where it’s supposed to.

Any big shifts in life perspective for you?

1 comment:

Jennie Bentley said...

I should take your advice, too. It's not that I don't have time for writing - although I wish I had more, between kids, and real estate, and moving - but that I have to produce something. It's funny, but it turns out that getting that coveted publishing contract and having to turn in three books to an editor by a certain date, isn't all that conducive to creativity. Suddenly, when I HAVE to write another book in the same series, about the same people doing many of the same things, my muse goes missing, too. And it becomes work. So maybe I need to spend a little less time sitting in front of the computer, frantically trying to write SOMETHING, produce SOMETHING, and a little more time reconnecting with my characters and why I enjoyed writing about them in the first place...

Thanks, Kathie!