Well, my friends, yesterday was the last day of the 2011 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference. It was an exciting ride of a week. Seriously. Even as I'm sitting still, my shadow self is doing somersaults and backflips and then breaks into the salsa with herself as partner (my shadow self is much more coordinated than I am).
Carol brought together an amazing group of teachers who have already influenced my writing (for good and not for eeevil) and my life. And, in my usual way, I am going to share what I learned about life while learning about writing. This is Part 1 in my new series: What I Learned About Life from WIFYR 2011.
First, I was in the boot camp morning workshop with the fabulous A.E. Cannon (otherwise known as Ann) (otherwise known as Amazing!)as our drill sargeant. The first morning, Ann shared with us some of her own writing mistakes. Here are a couple:
1. Be in scene: Great advice for writing; fantastic advice for life. So many times, I'm focusing on the past, what I did wrong, what I could have done instead of what I did do, and, of course, the WHAT IF? is always looming over my head. Or I am thinking about my future: what I'll do when I'm a published author, who I'll invite over to my house for a tea party if I ever get my house cleaned, how will I react in this or that kind of situation. While focusing on the past or the future, I am not
Being in scene,to me, means that we are enjoying the ride we are on in this moment. This doesn't meant that we don't make goals for ourselves or that we don't learn from our past mistakes, but that we don't spend so much time focusing on those things that we forget the joy and excitement of living our lives!
2. Don't wait for the right time in your life: For me, this is directly related to writing, because for so long, I waited for the time to write. After I came home from my mission, I started my Master's and teacher certification program, I got married, I started teaching, I started having children, I kept teaching, and all the while, I wanted to write, but I didn't have time.
Two years ago, when I met Ann for the first time during a summer institute of the Central Utah Writing Project, she told us that if we wanted to write, we had to make time for it. It was like a Homer Simpson "d'oh!" moment for me. Of course! If I wanted to be a writer, if I wanted a writing life, then I had to make time to write. And so I did. And I'm so grateful that I did.
Yeah, my house might be a little bit messier (it was never that clean anyway) and my two older children have learned to make their own PBJ sandwiches and chicken nuggets (a useful skill for boys of any age), but I am writing! I am doing the thing that feeds my soul.
You might not be interested in a writing life, but, probably, you have something you long to do. Are you doing it? If not, why not? Can you let something else go so that you can _____________ (insert soul-feeding activity here)?