Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Busy, Busy, And Then Some

I love October. My very first published piece - a poem - was published in October. I was 8, and my poem ("October") appeared in the local newspaper. It wouldn't win me any awards, but I remember as if it was yesterday the joy I felt at seeing my name in print.
my "first" publication

Plus, October is visually a gorgeous month, and I love those first fires in the fireplace, those crisp cool nights, the first brush of snow on the peaks, the golden aspen and deep red cherry trees.

This October is crazy-busy. I have a ton of appearances. But I want to reflect a moment on what it means to be so busy.

It means I do connect with readers of all stripes. It means I might even make a deeper connection - encourage a young writer to continue, or pass on a piece of knowledge that helps a listener. It also means I don't have as much time as usual to write.

October snow with aspen
Yesterday at a school visit I was asked by a 7th grade student about my daily writing goals, and I answered, truthfully, that I try to aim for 2000 words or 10 pages each day. Under normal circumstances, that's no sweat for me. I write fast - I'm a "fat" writer in the jargon of one of my former teachers, Ellen Howard - and then I go back and edit like crazy. But this October it's proving to be difficult for me to reach any goals at all.

Now perhaps I should add that I have an additional distraction: my husband and I have a new puppy in the house, which is rather like having a toddler running around. Both a joy and a headache, and thank heavens he's cute.

And then there are some personal/professional distractions, the kind that call my dedication to my profession into question. No details here and now, but I have to square my shoulders and soldier on.

That's the key to being a professional author. Yes, I aim to create a steady stream of prose, some of it good and some not, but there are times when the distractions beyond my control. Those are the times when I revisit my dedication to and love for writing.
my new office assistant

For it all comes back to that: the writing. The stories. I must tell stories, and I will be writing until they have to pry the pen from my clenched fingers. Some days, some months, are better than others, but I know I'll be back in the mode of 2000 words/ten pages before much longer.

If you are having trouble with distractions - first weeks of school, kids, sports, preparations for the holidays (gah!) - I feel your pain. Don't lose heart; come back to the storytelling. That's what it's all about.

If you are in Helena, Montana, I'll be there October 24 as part of their Big Read this fall. Their book is THE GREAT GATSBY, and I'll be discussing "SIRENS In the Time of GATSBY" at the Lewis and Clark Library from 7-8:30PM.

On November 2, I'll be on a panel and giving a lecture at the Bozeman Children's Festival of the Book at the Bozeman Public Library.

Both will be fun events, and I hope to see you there.


Michele Corriel said...

I think we all have to reexamine our commitment to a career that is always being judged, in some way. It is up to us, individually, to set our bar as high as possible and the jump as much as we can to get over it.
You are inspiration. Keep up the good work you do.

Janet Fox said...

Thank you so much, Michele. It's impossible to do this alone, and I'm deeply grateful to the friends like you who are there when I need you! hugs -

LinWash said...

Wow. Two thousand words a day is a great goal. My goal is a thousand words a day. Sigh. Some days are better than others at keeping that goal.
Congrats on your puppy!!

Janet Fox said...

Thanks, Linda. I will be so happy when this month is over! And then I can really get back to it.