creative life

The Wisdom of Alice in Wonderland for Creatives

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about living a creative life, it is this:

Like Alice, some days you feel tall.

Illustration by Sir John Tenniel, courtesy The Project Gutenberg

And some days you feel small.

Illustration by Sir John Tenniel, courtesy The Project Gutenberg

And through it all, you must remember to keep your head.

Illustration by Sir John Tenniel, courtesy The Project Gutenberg



Pumpkins and Creepy Houses and Soul Soup, Oh My!

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First up, pumpkins! Last year, I carved a TARDIS pumpkin. This year, Sherlock.

Second, in light of my favorite quote (“Do one thing every day that scares you”), I visited a creepy, abandoned house this morning with a couple of friends. It was…creepy. After, we went out for coffee to get over the heebies. It’s nice having friends who’ll do random things like that with you.

And finally, I just read this thought-provoking post from Danielle LaPorte, and thought it might impact you like it did me. It reminded me a bit of a post I wrote a while back about the ugly phase of making art.

Wishing you and yours a safe and fun Halloween!

SCBWI Summer Conference Recap, Part 2

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I’m spending the next week or reviewing my notes from the SCBWI Summer Conference. As I stated in my previous post, I took a notebook’s worth of notes, but out of respect for the SCBWI, I’m only sharing the highlights from the sessions here.

Today’s lineup: Laurie Halse Anderson and Emma Dryden.

From Laurie Halse Anderson’s breakout session, ” The Nuts and Bolts of Crafting a Creative Life: Finding Lost Time and Reclaiming Creativity”:

  • 24 hours a day is more than enough time to meet the demands of life and do your creative work
  • The universe wants you to be creative
  • Change causes discomfort, but discomfort won’t kill you
  • You have the intelligence and desire to regain your creativity and lost time; it’s just scary to do so
  • You have more control over how you spend your precious time and energy than you want to admit

Laurie pulled no punches in this session. She made it clear what a person must be willing to do to lead a creative life. She dispelled the myths writers buy into that keep us from believing we can do this writing thing. And she provided examples and exercises for determining what we each need to change to reclaim our time and creativity. Her number one message for creative people was to turn off the internet and television. Make that sacrifice for the sake of your creativity. She encouraged writers to feast on art and protect our work spaces. She also warned against self-sabotage, quoting Faulkner: “Don’t be a writer. Be writing.”

From Emma Dryden’s “Traveling Through the Digital Landscape: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Headed”:

Emma gave a detailed and comprehensive history of how technology has impacted the publishing industry. She laid all of the events out for everyone to see, from the unveiling of the first Kindle to the demise of Borders. She explained how each event affected the industry, providing statistics and facts. It was eye-opening and (I thought) refreshing to have someone talk open and honestly about the big ol’ digital elephant in the room.

Some points I found particularly interesting and worth noting include:

  • Story still and always will matter most
  • Ebooks are expanding the marketplace
  • If the enhancements in an enhanced ebook don’t really enhance the experience, then they’re not worth the investment
  • Authors must negotiate their digital rights
  • It pays to be flexible and on time in this changing landscape
  • Indie bookstores have an opportunity to reinvent themselves
  • Experimentation leads to progress
  • Consumers are demanding more choices and want more personalization and customization
  • Authors still need to write the best content possible
  • What still matters as the landscape changes: literacy, imagination, human connection

More highlights on Friday. 🙂

Just watch me

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I didn’t want to be one of those people who start a blog and then never do anything more than the first post.

Since this is my second post, I’m technically not one of those people. *shew*

Still, this tardy blog post serves as an illustration of a struggle I’ve been having the last couple of weeks: trying to get it all done.

Every minute of every day, I have to decide what to focus on, what to give my attention to. And giving my attention to one thing means choosing not to focus on at least ten other things.

It’s frustrating.

Writing the next scene in my novel means not playing with my kids. Playing with my kids means not writing the next scene in my novel. Doing either of those things means not doing the laundry. Or calling that friend back. Or responding to that email. Or reading that book. Or finishing that painting. Or doing the dishes. Or finishing that freelance work. Or…or…or…

And then things slip through the cracks and I end up backtracking, apologizing, forgoing sleep, etc.

There’s an Irish saying that comes to mind: “When God made time, he made enough of it.”

And then there’s my mom’s saying: “You’re not super woman, honey.”

Wait. You’re saying I can’t do it all? Is it worth trying? Is it possible to have a clean house, a stable and happy family, close friendships, a fulfilling creative life, a maintained inbox, finished novel, an active blog, a well-built author platform?

Call my stubborn, but my first response is always: “Just watch me.”

Even if at the end of the day, I’m passed out on the floor, exhausted.

How about you? Are you a creative person? How do you balance your creative life and the rest of your life? What do you sacrifice?