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Cathy: Confession time

treeMy big goal for while my boys are visiting at their dad’s for a month is to work regularly on my youth novel. I moved it from the back burner to the front, I turned on the burner, I even stirred the pot a little. Instead of bringing it to the heady steaming boil, and really adding some spices, I turned the burner to low, and have been simmering instead.

What’s that old saying about the road to Hell? Ah yes, my road looks like this from The Monday Page last week:

this week’s goals: paper org, 2 contests, 1 blog, review and work on novel. at least 1 chapter, per 3 days. 5-10 pages each, kid novel, less ambitious than harry potter. more like a jerry spinelli or sharon creech. complete 2 by end of week. is this unrealistic with nursing baby and mil sitting in office with me?

So I re-read, check. I revised minute typos and grammar, check. I got caught up on storyline, check. Then I stared at one new paragraph about waking up on Thanksgiving morning for about 5 days straight. I bopped around the internet with the excuse that I was looking at how other creative moms squeezed in their stuff around family. I took the dog and baby C for lots of walks. I did bits and pieces of Wreck This Journal. I let myself get peeved about something about some of the time my boys are spending with their father and stewed that for about a day and a half. I took photographs on my walks. See evidence here. I even had some lovely scheduling advice from Miranda on The Monday Page, to help me with my goal. In the end, one paragraph does not exactly equal two five-ten page chapters. Then I remembered:

Baby steps. It’s been a long time since I worked on a large project. It’s been a long time since I actively thought about this particular project. I believe in an earlier blog, I mentioned admitting to myself that my creative production is a very difficult thing to schedule. It happens in its own time, no matter how hard I try to be a good doobie and write my lists, write my intentions and schedule down, what comes out seems to have its own pace and nothing I can do can force it otherwise.

Now the good part is that I have re-read it. I am swimming in the dream of what these characters are doing next. Through this website and the blogs by many of the creative women on this website, I am maintaining an open channel to my creative nature. I have a lot of thanks to give for that. Thank you. Now, let’s see how progress goes this week. I meditatively breathe out the fact that I did not meet expectations, which were after all, only mine. I breathe in the chance to do it again.

And I did complete two contest entries and this blog. My freelance business cards arrived, too. So there. Now, I’ll turn up that burner again. Maybe I’ll even write the serving of the Thanksgiving turkey this week.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think you’re doing a huge amount, Cathy. I know that can be hard to hear–because when people tell ME that I’m doing a lot considering I have a newborn, I’m like “You don’t UNDERSTAND…” It’s like I THINK I have this huge capacity, because I have all the inspiration and plans and creative designs–but I just can’t execute. So hard to face that reality check.

    I do think it’s a good idea to aim low and then have a “bonus plan” in the event that you get a windfall nap from baby C or some other stroke of luck.

    I often get stuck at the next leg–SCHEDULING your “attempts” at creative time–even if it’s just “ten minutes during the baby’s nap on Tuesday” (even if you don’t know when that nap will happen). I am so much more successful when I schedule (while staying flexible, knowing that it might get bumped to Wednesday) than not. I might have to start posting to the Monday Page more than once a week, just to keep me honest…

    You really are doing great, Cathy–just look at how creative you’re being compared to two months ago!!! Good luck with the turkey carving :-)

    July 28, 2008
  2. And for the uninitiated, you should explain just what you’re doing dragging that book alongside the stroller!!!

    July 28, 2008
  3. Cathy #

    wow, thanks for kudos, miranda! and especially for reminding me that i wasn’t doing much at all just a little while ago. of course, then, my excuse was i was in the most creative endeavor there is: baby brewing, then postpartum and newbie care.

    i think i’ll leave the the mystery to be solved by buying ‘wreck this journal’ and using it!

    July 28, 2008
  4. okay, so i guess i have to go out and buy ‘wreck this journal’…..great post cathy. i find that i do my most creative thinking on walks so you’re on the right track in my book! i think we all tend to be far too hard on ourselves most of the time. sometimes i have to take major breaks from my art, whichever form it may be taking at the time, and then i feel really refreshed when i get back to it. sure, i always have that nagging “you really should be doing something more productive” voice in the back of my head, but i try to shut her up with a squeeze and a snuggle on the couch with my girls. works every time. self imposed deadlines are the easiest to fudge on. give yourself a break. :-)

    July 28, 2008
  5. Cathy #

    thanks, kelly, i can be hard on myself, esp w/o contributing income at the moment.

    i got wreck at amazon. didn’t even have to leave the house! i really feel it has opened me up creatively. and it’s fun, too! i sent a copy of that pic to keri smith for documentation’s sake, too.

    July 28, 2008
  6. cathy jennings #

    i love the photo of the stroller, book and doggie. it says everything. there is alot going on at your house.

    this creativity thing is a very natural process. it seems like it comes when it wants, it can’t be forced and it feels better when you let it come at it’s own pace.

    July 29, 2008
  7. Cathy #

    halleujah! can i get an amen!

    July 29, 2008

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