Weekend Edition – Doing What You Love Plus Writing Tips and Good Reads

Doing What You Love

coffee journal

Image by ci.mike on Flickr via Pinterest

Wow.

Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

While digging around in my Live to Write – Write to Live archives (searching for a post I remember writing, but still can’t find), I realized that this past June marked my four-year anniversary writing for this blog. Four years! How on Earth did that happen?!? I feel like it was only yesterday that Wendy graciously invited me to be part of this team, and now – suddenly – four years have flown by just like that. My daughter was six years old and in kindergarten when I started blogging here. Now she’s ten and about to enter the fifth grade. Again – wow.

It’s Labor Day weekend and I am, ironically, working. Don’t feel too badly for me. I took Wednesday and Thursday off for some back-to-school shopping and “road trip” fun with my daughter. We had a fabulous time both days, my favorite bit being an impromptu stop to watch (and play in!) the impressive surf at a beach up the coast. Watching her dancing on the rocks and laughing into the waves had me grinning so hard my face hurt.

So, now that the holiday is upon us, I have some catching up to do. A lot of it. I was explaining to my daughter about my deadlines and then mentioned that my first order of business was to write this blog post.

“Mom, why are you writing a blog post if you’re so busy,” she asked.

“Well, because writing the blog post is part of my job, too.”

“But, it’s not your real job. I mean, you don’t get paid for it.”

“No, I don’t. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not my real job.”

And after she’d scurried off up the street to meet her friend, I thought about it and realized that while she is right – I don’t get paid for the writing I do here – I consider it just as (if not more) important than the writing that pays the bills. I’m grateful for the paying work I have, but I never feel like that’s my “real” work. Though I am self-employed, I consider that work my day job. I do my real writing work here and in my journals and when I’m working on stories.

Would my day be less stressful if I passed on writing this post and worked instead on my copywriting deadlines? In theory, yes; but in reality, no. I’d miss being here. I would feel cheated. And, I would feel like I’d shirked my real responsibility. I love writing these posts. As grateful as I am for the paying gigs that keep a roof over our heads and food on our table, I’m just as grateful for the way this blog gives me a creative outlet, a platform on which to share my thoughts about writing, and – most importantly – a fun and supportive community.

I may not be getting paid for it (yet), but I still manage to do what I love. And that is what makes life worth living.

 

What I’m Writing:

Art by Bianca Green

Art by Bianca Green

Talk about time flying – I can’t believe that the two writing workshops I signed up for a couple weeks ago are coming up this week. Now that they are almost here, I have to admit that I’m a little nervous. It’s been a long while since I took any kind of formal writing class. Though I’ve always had wonderful experiences at Grub Street, I am still intimidated by the idea of heading into the city to sit in class with people who I assume are all “real” writers who know what they are doing.

I’m also battling the deadline demons who are trying to convince me that I should skip class in favor of putting in some extra time on my client projects. Oddly enough, I found myself fighting for my writing life in similar circumstances the last time I took a Grub Street class. Though I was a little discouraged to realize that I’m still dealing with the same obstacles, I was encouraged to note that I didn’t give up then, and I’m not going to give up now. I may only be making progress in baby steps, but at least I’m still moving forward.

So … next week, I will be spending two evening in Boston at Grub Street headquarters. On Wednesday evening, I’ll be learning about creative nonfiction in Calvin Hennick’s workshop, Writing and Selling the Money-Making Essay. And on Thursday, I’ll be testing my funny bone with Wendy Wunder’s class, Lighten Up: Cultivating a Sense of Humor in the Writing of Serious Fiction.Β (I think there are a few seats left in this one. Just saying.)

So – today’s writing (apart from this post) is all about keeping my B2B copywriting clients happy. But next week … next week, two evenings will be about keeping my “real” writer happy. I can’t wait.

 

What I’m Reading:

book little beeLast weekend, my beau gave me the most wonderful gift – an entire afternoon sitting in a lounge chair on my deck with a book. It may not sound like an extravagance, but we so rarely take the time to just sit that it felt like the most indulgent treat in the world. We spent some time staring out at the boater activity across the street at the town wharf, but then I slipped between the covers of my book and disappeared for a while. It was bliss.

I found my paperback copy of Chris Cleave’s novel, Little Bee, in a box outside a neighbors house. It was tucked in amongst an eclectic collection of kids books, self-help tomes, and some small household accessories. It had been out overnight and the morning dew had caused the pages to ripple slightly, but the bright orange cover with it’s bold silhouette illustration seemed mostly impervious to the ravages of a single night out under the stars.

The facts of Cleave’s story are simple, but your reaction will not be. From the back cover:

We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we’ll just say this:

This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to dace. Two years later, they meet again – the story starts there …

Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.

I agree, so I won’t tell you what happens. I will tell you, however, that the story is riveting, the narrative voices are both endearing and discomforting, and the writing is excellent. This is not a story that will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, but it will make you think.

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

Finally, a quote for the week:

pin tell yourself the story

Thanks, as always, for sharing part of your weekend with me. Have a great one, and I’ll see you on the other side!Β 

.
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 – occasionally – Β trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

40 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – Doing What You Love Plus Writing Tips and Good Reads

  1. This blog is one of my favorites, and your Weekend Editions are posts I am always looking forward to! I hope that your writing workshops go well! I hear you about how doing something you love, even when it doesn’t pay the bills, is a job/career anyway. I have been looking for paid employment for a while, and hope to get something that will allow me to move to the US or the UK in the near future. Yet, I consider that all that I write, no matter the media or whether fiction (soon!) or nonfiction, is my job and I am grateful for this experience and the opportunity to do something that I know is my calling. Have a great weekend and week! πŸ™‚

    • It’s always so nice to “see” you, Natacha! πŸ™‚

      I agree – everything we write is part of the larger experience. I do not believe there is any such thing as wasted writing time. Even if no one ever reads what I’ve written (even me!), each word on the page is part of the bigger process. And, as I said, I do not assign value to my words based on how much money they have earned, or even how many people have read them. Some of my best (and favorite) pieces have been done for an audience of one (me), or for a public audience that reads for free.

      Even if I was never paid again to write, I would still write and I would still consider writing, if not my job, then my purpose.

      • I am a professional writer for a large company and I have decided that if I never have to write again it would be just fine with me. However, my whole working career has been based on my writing ability. So, I have two choices. Try to figure out how to parlay my writing career into something without writing or try to start liking writing again. When I hear someone say how much they love writing, I am so envious. I know I sound like a cry baby — so many people would love to be a writer for a living. But it’s just not for me anymore.

  2. Good for you, I am laboring on Labor Day as well and what better way to work than reading and writing? Painting? I cannot paint, it never works out. I wish you a productive and enjoyable weekend! Enjoy every second of it.

    • I’ve always wanted to try painting, but it’s still on my To Do list.

      Thanks for sharing. Glad to know I have creative company while I’m working.
      πŸ™‚

      Wishing you much productivity as well!

    • “Don’t work too hard.” <— Famous Last Words πŸ˜‰

      Hope you have a lovely weekend and get that trip. Sounds fun!

  3. Enjoy your writing classes Jamie πŸ™‚ be careful of that voice that says everything you do must be productive and earning money for it to be worthwhile…for YOU to be worthwhile is the sub text. Go where your heart leads you xo

    • Oh, Sara. You go right to the heart of it, don’t you?
      To measure our worth only in terms of earning potential is indeed a cruel and short-sighted approach. And for writers, our work is so closely entwined with our sense of self that it’s dangerously easy to slip and slide down that slippery slope.

      Thank you for the gentle reminder and for the well wishes for my classes. Following my heart, indeed.
      πŸ™‚

      • I do go to the heart of the matter because it’s my nature to do so…but also because I recognised that productivity and value voice as one of my own…

      • Well, I am glad to have you here, sharing your insights. That’s an especially big one that I will be pondering for a while.

    • Hello, Adshayah! Long time no see. πŸ™‚ Glad to hear you’re still blogging.
      Did you redesign your site? I don’t remember that beautiful owl illustration. So pretty!
      Thanks for coming by. Blog on!

      • Hi Jamie,
        I am really busy on Saturdays, so I finally found time to comment on your Weekend Editions even though I read each and every single one of them.
        I did redesign my site. Thanks for checking it out. I never knew you read it. Blog on right back at ya!

        Adshayah

    • Hello, Linda, and thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.
      And – though perhaps it’s selfish of me – I’m glad I’m not working alone this weekend. Somehow, that makes it better. πŸ˜‰

      Good luck with your projects. Thanks for coming by!

  4. I enjoyed your blog post, Doing What You Love. As a new blogger, I’ve gotten discouraged when I compare the stats on my blog with those of seasoned bloggers. Despite the low numbers, I will continue to do my blog. It’s a part of who I am as a writer. Your post is inspirational and helpful.

    • Hello, Joyce. Ahhh … the comparison monster. I know it well. It’s hard not to avoid. Don’t give up, and – more importantly – don’t judge your efforts against someone else’s success. The circumstances are never the same and there’s really no way to compare apples to apples. Each writer’s journey is unique. Your path to satisfaction and happiness and “success” (however you define that) will be different than any other writer’s. Best plan: be true to you. Trite, but still good advice. Most of all, have FUN! πŸ™‚

  5. You should bear in mind that, to the other people in your classes, YOU are the “real” writer they are probably nervous of! πŸ™‚ Relax and enjoy it, and thanks for taking the time to share here.

    • Hello! It’s been a while. So nice to “see” you. πŸ™‚

      You are right, of course. We often miss the point that others share our anxieties and fears. In reality, we’re all playing on a pretty level field, aren’t we?

      Thanks for the advice. I will do my best to relax and enjoy it!

  6. Hello there Jamie,

    I’m Adshayah’s younger sister. I heard about your weekend editions and decided to check them out. I love them! I have been reading a series called Ever After High recently, maybe your daughter would be interested in it. I have a blog too, and maybe you wouldn’t mind checking it out. Hope you reply,

    Abi

    • Hello, Abi. I remember you – and your blog. πŸ™‚
      So glad you’re enjoying the weekend editions. TKS for the book recommendation for my daughter. (She’s a super picky reader, so I can’t promise she’ll actually read it.)

      So glad you’re still blogging. Love your list of things to do when you’re bored, and the post on planners. (I was a long time planner junkie, but now my schedule lives in Google calendar: https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/manage-your-time-deadlines-and-sanity-with-one-tool-%E2%80%93-down-with-the-to-do-list/ )

      Tks much for stopping by. Nice to “see” you.
      Happy reading & writing!

      • Hello Jamie, I am a very picky reader as well just like your daughter. I love reading though. I recently searched up phobias and their was one on a fear of books. I don’t know how I would last! πŸ™‚

        I’ve actually switched my blog if you don’t remember. I wanted a fresh start because my other blog was really messed up so I started this blog. Planning helps so much and thank you so much for that post. It was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it.

        Thnx so much for visiting my blog it means a lot to me especially with it coming from you. I wish your daughter luck for her school year and hope to talk to you soon! Happy Blogging!

      • A fear of books?!? That’s just unnatural.

        Glad you enjoyed the planning post. I’m a bit of a time/project management geek. I love organizing things, making lists and checking them off. πŸ˜‰

        My daughter wishes you a happy new school year, too!

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