Dan’s right. It is later than you think.
This week, the theme was “Life is Short.”
I began the week with a little getaway that was inspired by the truth of life’s brevity. Along with my beau and my daughter, I headed north to the elegant and enchanting Mount Washington Hotel – an idyllic, turn of the century hideaway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Knowing how quickly the next few years will pass (and how, soon, my daughter may be less inclined to spend quality time with her dear mother), I took my fifth grader out of school for the three days so we could revel in the delights of slightly forbidden joys. We went on a horseback ride, hiked to a waterfall, and she and my beau spent hours performing aquatic acrobatics in the pool while I sat nearby, reading. It was a wonderful, if brief, escape from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
On Friday, as I was wrapping up my short work week, Dan Blank’s newsletter arrived in my inbox. In It’s Later Than You Think, Dan relates the heartbreaking story of a late blooming author who passed away suddenly, leaving so many projects unfinished. In his retirement, this writer had finally begun to see clearly what his true life’s work was, only to have the opportunity to pursue that work snatched from him by an unkind fate.
Later that day, I came across a tweet linking to a Time article called Happy Thoughts: Here Are the Things Proven To Make You Happier. The piece, written by Eric Barker, includes a list of the five regrets people are most likely to have right before they die:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
With all of this swirling around in my head, I’d like to ask you …
What does a life true to yourself look like?
How can you work less and enjoy life more?
How can you find the courage to express your feelings?
Who can you reach out to today so you can keep in touch?
What makes you happier and … can you find it in your heart to allow more of that into your life?
What I’m Writing:
Sometimes I want to pull this section from the Weekend Edition template. It feels like I have little to share here. However, I have made each of you an accountability partner of sorts. While I realize that life is short and I need to take steps toward accomplishing my own life’s work, day-to-day responsibilities often distract me from the Big Picture. Though I start the week with the best of intentions, by mid-week I have more or less surrendered to the reality of time constraints and the need for sleep. Coming here on Saturday morning helps me reconnect with those intentions.
I am still waiting to find out if the Fiction I class I signed up for will go forward. They need one more person to register in order to run the class. I’ve got my fingers crossed that some fellow writer will step forward and fill that final slot. Even though a little part of me would breathe a sigh of relief at having those eight Tuesday’s back for my paying client work, most of me would lament the chance to strike a blow for my creative side by stealing those Tuesdays for her sole delight. We’ll see soon enough how things play out.
I’m curious. What gets you back on track when you’re writing intentions go off the rails? Do you have an accountability partner, or is there something else that pulls you up and sets you at your task again?
What I’m Reading:
This week I had the unusual pleasure of guilt-free reading time. While we were away in the White Mountains, I enjoyed several hours of reading time while my daughter and beau played in the pool. (I have never been much of a water person, so I was grateful that my other half was willing to don his swim shorts and dive in.) I had charged up my Kindle before we left, but had yet to make a reading choice from my seriously overstuffed collection of downloads. In the end, I chose a book that I’m pretty sure I discovered via a tweet from Sharon Abra Hanen (@wellfedpoet), a writer and creative coach whom I met at the last Grub Street course I took.
Spirit’s Key by Edith Cohn is a middle grade novel that tells a unique and beautiful story about coming into your own, “facing your today,” and learning to find common ground. From Cohn’s site:
By now, twelve-year-old Spirit Holden should have inherited the family gift: the ability to see the future. But when she holds a house key in her hand like her dad does to read its owner’s destiny, she can’t see anything. Maybe it’s because she can’t get over the loss of her beloved dog, Sky, who died mysteriously. Sky was Spirit’s loyal companion, one of the wild dogs that the local islanders believe possess dangerous spirits. As more dogs start dying and people become sick, too, almost everyone is convinced that these dogs and their spirits are to blame—except for Spirit. Then Sky’s ghost appears, and Spirit is shaken. But his help may be the key to unlocking her new power and finding the cause of the mysterious illness before it’s too late.
I will be sharing this one with my daughter and hope she enjoys the story as much as I did.
A quick aside – there is a lovely acknowledgement at the end of the book that gave me, as a writer, a serious case of the warm & fuzzies. Reading it, I was once again reminded that “birthing” a book is never a solitary effort. As with a human child, it takes a village.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- How to Market a Self-Published Book by @pjrvs
- 10 Science-Backed Ways to Spark Creativity via @99u
- How to Make a Dent in the Universe by @mattchevy
- Would you rather have a lot of stuff or a lot of time? by @markwschaefer
- How Has Self-Publishing Changed In The Last 2 Years? Interview With David Gaughran by @thecreativepenn
- How to Write a Short Story With Deep Structure by Dr, John Yeoman via @writetodone
- Introducing Bad Advice for Writers! by G. Doucette
Finally, a quote for the week:
Here’s to being brave, facing our todays, and finding happiness. Happy reading & writing. See you on the other side!
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 – trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
Train Track Photo Credit: jjMustang_79 via Compfight cc