I’ve been a little absent online these days. I pop up for a few things. But I’ve been busy with family things and life things and writerly things, but I wish I was doing more of the latter than I am. I’m still working on the balance. I pulled back on my writing because there were problems on the homefront. Kids who needed mom to not only be physically present, but mentally too and the house which had gone through a period of months of neglect (more due to illness and being too tired to get to it) was becoming a source of contention around here.
The good news is I think I’m a bit more balanced now. And we’re all happier. I have my kids started back down a path that is good for them and me and the house now looks like it should be lived in and not just existed in.
As an aside, Dean Wesley Smith spent the last ten days ghost writing a novel and let everyone in for a peek. He shows how life isn’t about one thing. He’s a professional writer, but he teaches, edits, publishes, comes up with new ideas and acts on them. And he naps with a cat and sits around and watches bad tv too. It’s not about being myopic and thinking in terms of all or nothing. It’s about doing the things in your life that mean the most to you. Its about returning to the work the means the most. On a conscious level committing to the return even when you momentarily walk away.
The first day is here (I’ll let your capable minds find the rest of the days). The best parts about these posts are the questions and comments at the end so don’t skimp and just read the posts (there is a lot so pace yourself – you don’t have to read it all in one sitting). The blog entries and the comments take on the creative/creator myths and knocks them down nicely one by one.
I am very grateful for Dean’s transparency and letting us peek at his days because I’m not someone who can be told and get it (I’m probably just too stubborn sometimes) — I have to be shown for my brain to say ‘ahhh- right now — got it’ . Honestly I’ve done what he does, I just forgot I used to do it. I did it and it wasn’t very showy and I wrote a lot, but then I forgot the process. Simple.
I also wanted to give you a link to a blog that I find very helpful. The Camp Creek blog was originally aimed at homeschoolers, but has evolved and expanded to everyone who is a self-directed learner and even that is a little misleading of a description. It is useful for anyone who is creating their life around an idea that you can prioritize and even make money from something you love to do and which the path may be something each person has to find for themselves. But it is not a blog that inspires you to death, but leaves you empty handed — you know the type where they give you speeches and ‘rah, rah you’re wonderful and unique’ ‘go for the gold’ stuff. It’s solid information that you can use every day stuff and things to think about stuff.
As caveat I want to say I’m not really big into self-help books or blogs. When I was young my older sister used to devour self-help books and go to seminars spending hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars and hours of time and she never seemed to get further along. In fact I thought she was fine and more productive before she started with all that stuff. And then I had kids and started with my first ‘mommy help’ book — you know the ‘oh, wow I’m pregnant now show me what to do book’ and that lead to a multiple year jaunt of books and hours of time wasted on these books, blogs, and message boards about this and other topics of information aimed at reinforcing the idea that a person can’t figure out life on their own without the help of a good book/blog telling them what to do.
I no longer read those books or blogs and I almost never do message boards. I read only things that deal with the function aspect of doing work when I read blogs and I only read the ones that give solid information in a non-demeaning manner. The reason I like The Camp Creek Blog is it gives a lot of useful information, but doesn’t digress into the mindless campy phrases of ‘do more to get more’ and ‘work smarter not harder’. It takes on the idea that a person who wants to get more from their life comes as a full and complete person who just needs a little bit more focus on certain areas of their life. Who needs skills along with the passion. But always the emphasis is on ‘what are you doing’. Anyone who is building their life around their passions knows it’s not about the reading of these passions and finding inspiration - it is living it and being in that moment. Even crappy tv and catnapping with a cat can add to a life full of doing things you love. It’s about mindfully returning to the work (even when the parts of the work aren’t fun all the time).
And that dear folks is the end of my soap box.
I hope you’ve had a great week. I hope the next week gives you lots of happy hours doing work you love.
P.S. If you are a writer and like to watch writers write Brandon Sanderson is letting you do just that right here. (I am trying to find the first entry in his blog that explains what he’s writing, but he has no archive on his blog and as far as I can see you have to hit the calendar dates individually to find what is written there and I do not have that kind of time. Sorry. But I think the entries are self-explanatory.)
I will say I just finished reading Sanderson’s Hugo nominated novella The Emperor’s Soul and I enjoyed this book a lot. It is the first thing I’ve read by him — he tends to write very long series and it seemed a little daunting jumping into them, but the novella was a great introduction to his world and writing. I will definitely plan on reading more by him.
Ok, now I’m really done.