When I was a young wife in the mid-1970s, Woman’s Day and Family Circle magazines often published short stories. My friend Peggy and I read them and were consistently disappointed with them. “I could write better stories than these,” I said. “Me, too,” said Peggy. But I don’t think we ever submitted any.
In the 1990s I was a stay-at-home mom with five kids. I decided to become a freelance writer because that way I could earn money while raising my own children fulltime. I was published in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, A Closer Look, The Annals of St. Anne de Beaupre, The Arizona Republic, Women’s Touch, Media Investor, and Lutheran Digest. As for earning money, my biggest grossing year I earned $600, for two worship drama scripts I sold to Concordia Publishing. I started several novels and finished a couple, though they were never sold (although one did go to “committee”).
In 2000 I started working a string of jobs outside the home, the last as an elementary general music teacher, which I resigned from in 2014. It was after that I got serious about writing.
I’d always said when I retired I’d go back to writing. I hadn’t meant to retire in 2014, but since I applied for jobs for a year and never got hired, I rejoined the critique group I’d attended during the 90s and early 2000s and resurrected my favorite novel. I contributed to a group blog and started ARHtistic License.
I write because my brain is swimming with ideas. I have a file cabinet of drafts that I want to rewrite someday, and notebooks full of ideas for future projects. I have a poetry chapbook on the contest circuit, three novels in different stages of progress, a bible study I’m rewriting and another I’m planning, and a book of children’s poems in the works that I want to illustrate myself. I’m also committed to posting on ARHtistic License every day.
Okay, you writers out there—why do you write? Let’s face it, it’s not the easiest way to make a living. So what drives you to put the words on paper? You can share in the comments below, or if you prefer, email me through my contact page. I’d like to tabulate the responses and address them in a future post on ARHtistic License. Thank you for your input.
When I resigned from my teaching job three and a half years ago, I resolved to do things around the house that I hadn’t had time for while I was working, like tackling our “garage of doom.” Our house, built in 1979, was showing its age, and our garage door looked shabby and decayed. I told my husband the garage had to be cleared out before we could order a new door.
Now, we’ve lived in our house 29 years. When we moved in, we had four kids, the oldest of whom was nine. My husband started his new job the next day, while I cared for the kids and started unpacking. We immediately became pregnant with child number five, which zapped my energy. The fact that we live in the Arizona desert—where six months of the year it’s too hot to work in the garage, and one month it’s too cold– didn’t help. Boxes moved from our old home in New Jersey waited in the garage for unpacking, to no avail. They were soon joined by other stuff we couldn’t find room for. Eventually, the entire garage flowed waist-high with stuff. The job of cleaning it out seemed insurmountable.
The first two years of removing hundreds of bags of garbage, recycling, and donatables didn’t even visibly reduce the mountains of debris in the garage. But we kept plugging away, and just before Christmas 2017, we pronounced the excavation done. You can read about our Garage of Delight here.
It’s hard to keep going when the job is so big you can’t see yourself making any progress. You have to visualize what you are working toward and then remind yourself that every focused effort you make is getting you closer to your goal, whether you can see it or not.
The same thing is true when you’re working on a large creative project, like a novel rewrite. It’s a daunting process. It helps to identify exactly what it is you’re working on—a story that will hold great meaning for your readers. Sometimes, if you can make your endeavors about others and not about yourself, it can take some of the pressure off you.
Six Ways to Keep Your Momentum Going:
What helps you keep motivated? Share in the comments below.
Here are some of my favorite memes from this year: