Monday, May 10, 2010


There’s Writing and then there is Life.

When I was working all the time – clergy work is pretty much 24/7 - I used to think my perfect world would be to not work or childcare or even cook very much but have hours and days and weeks to write. That was my very vague plan for retirement – besides clean the closets and finish the children’s scrap books. I was going to write, write, write!

But I found myself in the Slough of Inertia! The bottomless pit of ideas I thought was hovering out for "when I had time" was more like a shallow ditch and it was dry. It was not until I went back to work in the library and got into the critique group that I started generating creativity again.

So I learned that when you have too little Life and too much Writing Time, it can be as non-productive as being consumed with work/kids/graduate school. Or maybe I was just Way Too Young to retire!

But Life still gets in the way. Last week was NaPiBoWriWee – National Picture Book Writing Week. We were challenged to write a picture book every day May 1-7 – and I did it! Well one might have been a substantial rewrite, but not much was saved of the original. So why can’t I do that every week? Or once a month? Every quarter? Nope – I wait for the annual event because of…Life.

On the other hand if I was not interacting with kids in the church and library, if I did not get the intellectual/humorous interaction with the critique group, I could not produce in the vacuum.

"A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and a multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life."--Saul Bellow. Hopefully that is also true for picture books about a talent show for lizards!

So for the next three weeks my Life will take a very different turn and you are invited to come along. I will be in Dharamsala, India, volunteering in a day care center. Follow the adventure as often as I can find an internet café at


  1. Words of wisdom!! i guess all experience leads to the point where we are. i am glad i am not the only one to feel like start-stop as far as writing. but seeing how productive you have been in the last year is really inspirational--not just the writing but the keeping up with conferences and workshops and research and submitting. cannot wait to see what you come up with after your trip. be safe and bless your work there!

  2. I completely agree with Trager. I honestly don't know how you do it all. You make me feel old and lazy.