Thoughts on Writing

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”

[The Guardian, 25 February 2010]” 
― Hilary Mantel

Each morning, I start my day by grading eggs. Jumbos, Extra Large, and Large… all cleaned, sorted, and nestled into their boxes. Typically while I work, I listen to classical music. It’s a pleasant way to start the day. I’m entirely focused on a task that can be accomplished. I love to leave the egg room with the empty baskets stacked and egg cartons full. Lately, instead of listening to my favorite string masterpieces, I hear only the annoying buzz-like static from the radio. Change was needed. I remembered my Audible  library. All the books had a theme. Words to inspire writers. The quote above was mentioned in the audiobook titled “The Successful Author Mindset” by Joanna Penn.

Now I’m listening not just in the egg room, but also back at home. During meal prep, it’s on. At clean-up, still listening. It’s peppered with many great quotes from successful writers and sound advise.

January taught me many lessons about patience and the nuances of managing  your work life as a creative. I had set a goal to go all in as a freelance writer. I’m fully aware of the sea change in publishing since I last earned a living as a writer.  Print was still king back then. I decided if I could do it before, I could do it again.  I was especially counting on freelancing to carry me through January.  One long, cold month.

As it so often happens, my plans took surprise twists and turns. One interview failed to get scheduled when I hoped, so the entire process was delayed two weeks. It tried my patience to wait. A significant hiccup happened in another larger project, that caused me to fret that the contract might not get approved at all. Another article submitted for a “fuzzy” deadline is still sitting in an editor’s inbox, waiting for feedback and acceptance.

I realized I can’t just decide on a goal and then make it so. The creative life rarely tracks on strict timetables. I can live with this for now since I’m still building and getting some momentum around my writing projects. I have found each chapter in “The Author’s Mindset” to be so refreshing.  You can learn more about this book and the author Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn or by listening to her podcast.  Whether you’re blogging, self-publishing, or just trying to expand your portfolio in the writing world, this is a great resource.