Monday, January 31, 2011

On the matter of paths and how we spend our time walking them

I haven't been reading a lot of blogs, although I've been reading more lately. For all of last week, each time I clicked on a link I read exactly what I needed to hear that day.

A few of them are writing/author blogs that have been passed around Twitter, but the one I keep coming back to isn't. It's Tiny Buddha, which is a positive general blog that posts about everything from how to be a true friend to how to discover your super powers. The post about super powers was the one I read today, and it made stop and stare at the screen.

There's a quote that begins it from the Buddha: “Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.”

That's really at the core of why I write and what I write about. I don't think I could write a book that was purely meant to scare the pants off readers or solve the question of whether a character chooses Boy A or Boy B. Stories are the way we teach the next generation what to value and what beliefs to uphold.

That's why I think young adult fiction is the most important fiction being written today, because we're writing for not just the writers of tomorrow but the leaders, healers, teachers, and innovators. We're passing on what we know to the people who will solve the problems the generations before them are creating. It's why I advocate teen literacy, it's why I advocate that people who aren't teens give teen literature a chance and remind themselves of what it felt like when the world was huge and worth fighting for.

The article from Tiny Buddha also contained this passage: "Still, what I’ve learned these past couple of years is that a joyful journey leading toward an uncertain destination is far more fulfilling than a meaningless journey headed toward something clear and specific."

I did some soul searching this past week (in between writing 12,000 words, cleaning my room, refilling my closet and baking a lot of cookies.) Talking with a friend over coffee brought to my attention that she and I are in an environment that is starting to echo a similar environment at a previous workplace. Contagious discontentment and apathy ultimately drove me from that workplace. Thankfully, it was to a company better-suited to my interests. I knew when I gave notice that I was making the right decision for me.

20 months after that move, burnt out and exhausted, I found myself needing to make another change. Now, it's not reasonable for me to seek full-time writing. Not at this point in my life, because I would be choosing unemployment over a dependable paycheque. But it's also unreasonable for me to abandon writing—not just because of how far along the path I am, but because storytelling is at the core of who I am.

I have a role now that I love, but I've been having to fit it in around my around tasks. This isn't right or reasonable. Why have I allowed something fulfilling to become my "homework"? How can what is currently a stable but smaller role grow into a larger one if I don't make the time and room for it in my life?

During the TNRD Tour, I told teens that writing is a job that no one else will take seriously if you don't treat it like one. But it's also important not to let the limitations of those around you restrict what you can achieve. Does it take more energy to be positive and continually affirm that the future will be a better place than today is? Yes, at first it does. But like every other habit, it comes with effort and practice.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I thought the first blog of the new year should be something impressive.

But I've got nothing really for you to see here, because what I've got has to go into my rough draft or the Indigo Teen Blog.

I took a week out of the store to decompress and get some things done. Also, I'm getting more sleep than I've gotten since October and my room is cleaner than it's been in six months. Which doesn't mean words on the page, but I had a 4000 word day yesterday so I'm working at a more relaxed pace today.

Oh, and I came up with a really great pen name. But in case I may need to actually use it, I am not going to put it online anywhere. Just know it's awesome and it's not Emily Mochaccino, although that is also a very good fake name.

My friend, Karen Mahoney, has a novel out now. It released this week, which has me thinking a lot about the place I was in those years ago when she first wrote The Iron Witch and I first read it. Then I think that it's probably best I don't think about that unless it's to plan about how to reach a place like it again.

Mostly I feel really proud of her and hopeful for her success and grateful that we're still friends.

If you're in Logan Lake on February 5th or you know how to get to Logan Lake, you should come visit the library. I'm going to talk and since it's a return trip and some of those amazing teens might be there again, I'll have to come up with something other than Supernatural to chat about.