Welcome to this Saturday Edition in which I share a little of what I’m up to with my writing (when I’m not here) and what I’m reading (between the covers and around the web). I’ll also pull back the curtain a little on my version of the writing life (but not so much as to be indecent).
I hope you enjoy this little diversion and encourage you to share your own thoughts, posts, and picks in the comments. I LOVE hearing from you and seeing the world from your perspective.
Happy writing! Happy reading!
One of the perils of being a self-employed writer is that when you are felled by some vicious illness, getting the rest and relaxation you need isn’t as easy as calling in sick and curling up on the couch with three seasons of Arrested Development and a bottle of NyQuil. Nope. Being sick when your a solopreneur is not nearly as fun as that.
This week I got hit by the flu. It sidled in on Sunday evening and by midday Monday the fever was shaking me so violently it made me drive erratically on the way to pick my daughter up from school (which, in retrospect, was probably a bad thing for me to be doing in such a state). It took forty-eight hours for the fever to break, but I soon realized that a high temperature was only part of the fun this particular virus had planned for me. To make a (very) long story short, I lost the entire week. I just couldn’t do a thing. Even showering was optional.
By yesterday, I had enough just energy and coherence to handle one client call, a few emails, and a couple aisles at the grocery store. Worst of all, I had to muster the courage to assess the depth of the hole I’d fallen into as far as work was concerned. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty deep one because just before I got sick I was in the process of kicking off several fairly sizable projects. Despite generous offers of assistance from a couple of compassionate colleagues, as a freelance writer, I’m pretty much on my own because my work isn’t the kind that can be delegated or outsourced.
So, on this Saturday, I am – despite still being doped up on all kinds of cold & flu meds – trying to rally my brain so I can start catching up on my lost days.
As I work-convalesce, I’d love to hear from other deadline-bound writers. What’s your plan when illness takes you out at the knees? Do you call in reinforcements, wave the white flag, try to muddle through and hope you don’t write like a blithering idiot? I’m curious … and open to suggestions.
TKS and stay healthy. Seriously. You don’t want this thing.
What I’m Writing:
So, obviously, I didn’t get much (any) writing done this week. I did however republish one of my recent columns – this one about a few feathered friends who have made a much-heralded appearance in the small, coastal New England town where I live. I was lucky enough to catch glimpses of both the birds featured in Winter’s Feathered Royalty, and it was quite a thrill. (Geek secret – I’ve been an amateur birder since I was about seven years-old. In fact, many of the drawings in my first sketch book are of local birds – sparrows, cardinals, titmice, etc.)
Though I refer to myself as a “someday novelist,” writing these columns is also helping me to explore other types of creative writing, specifically creative nonfiction. I am also discovering a personal predilection for writing about nature. This shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve been writing about nature since I was a kid (I kept nature journals alongside my private diaries). Though I have always known on some level that many people make a living writing about nature, I’ve never considered myself qualified to be a “real” nature writer. Still … there are a hundred different ways to approach the topic. I’m definitely going to give this some more thought.
What I’m Reading:
I had hoped to catch up on some reading while bedridden and couchbound, but – alas – I didn’t even have the energy to indulge my inner bookworm. Apart from napping, I actually succumbed to the siren call of the television. Instead of slipping into a good book, I sank into an over-medicated binge of sitcoms and comedy shows. I even watched a little daytime programming, but only the ellen show (and who doesn’t love Ellen?).
The only book I did manage to read was one I picked up after reading Wendy’s review of Nick Bantock’s creativity primer, The Trickster’s Hat. In addition to buying myself a copy of that book, I reserved a few more of the author’s books including the entire Griffon & Sabine series and one called Urgent 2nd Class: Creating Curious Collage, Dubious Documents, and Other Art from Ephemera (affiliate link). It was this last one that I ended up reading.
I enjoyed getting a peek behind the scenes at Bantock’s creative process and techniques. Although his art is primarily visual, there is a strong element of story in each piece he creates. He pulls together otherwise disparate bits and pieces to create a cohesive image that has both artistic and narrative merit. The book is full of examples of his unique collage work and each one could provide the spark for a story.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- How One Famous Author Tricks Herself Into Writing Wonderful Stories by @APalleschi via @thewritelife – I loved reading that Elizabeth Gilbert is a proponent of self-bribery, something I recently wrote about in Dear Writer, Bribery Can Be a Good Thing.
- Your Voice by @sethw featuring @JamesVictore – James is a bit of an acquired taste, but I adore him. He is irreverent but compassionate and his creativity is off the charts. I love what he has to say about finding your voice. Very good advice.
- Top 10 WordPress Plugins That You Need To Be Using In 2014 by @jeffbullas – I’m always trying to get smarter about technology, and this seems a good list to explore further if you’re on a WordPress site.
- Rizzoli — To Lose Our Culture Is to Lose Our Memories – This story about potentially losing one of New York’s most iconic book landmarks made me a little weepy (though, that might have been the flu talking).
- Before Breakfast by @tarasophia – If you’re tired of failing to measure up against the productivity of “successful people,” this breath of sanity from Tara Sophia Mohr is for you.
- Shelfies: Like Selfies, But for Book Nerds by @annhandley – I abhor selfies, but shelfies I can live with. Ann Handley explains the phenomenon and provides some great marketing insights at the same time.
- When You Don’t Know What to Write, Write About Your Insecurities by @joebunting via @write_practice – Stuck for a topic? Not sure where to go with a scene? Character hitting a dead end? Not to worry. Your fears and anxieties can rescue you.
- Writing is a Process That Starts Long Before The First Word by @RichBecker – There is SO much more to writing than putting words on the page. In this excellent presentation, Becker lays out the six disciplines that are the working foundation of good writing.
- The Nemesis Engines: On Inspiration and process – Part 1 by @thebrandbuilder – Fascinating look behind the scenes at how this author came to create his current work of fiction.
Finally, a quote for the week:
As always – thanks for being here. I wish you good writing and happy reading and a HEALTHY rest of the weekend.
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
Tea Mug Photo Credit: ben matthews ::: via Compfight cc
Owl Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar via Compfight cc