What a hectic two weeks and it's all good.
First. Last week (was it only LAST week?) I was bent over my computer trying to get to the end of my short story "Oh Hell!" to meet a May 31 deadline. Second. This week I was bent over my work bench trying to create some "Koi" specific necklaces for a June 6 deadline. Results? I'm tired, but it's that self-satisfied kind of exhaustion that comes with hard work and recognition that your efforts are appreciated.
Last Saturday, after turning my new short story (7000 words in need of a honing, tightening, motif insertion editing job), I received the terrific news that the editor of the Little Sisters, Volume 1 anthology had accepted my draft. Hooray!! Edits to start in July. I can't wait to see Loretta's notes.
Loretta Scott Miller, a mystery writer and publisher, has a passion for helping new writers (Too many times the "call for submission" editors specify "young"!!!) As a Sister-in-Crime, she created an anthology to publish those writers who seriously pursue the mystery-suspense genre and have joined Sisters-in-Crime.* She is also on the look-out for novels by emerging writers. She can be reached at Shannon Road Press.
So that adventure was terrific. Now it's on to the book and to FINISH the edit.
However, I have also fallen into a beading frenzy. Since going with my mother-in-law to Tucson in February for the Gem and Jewelry show, I've been hooked. My original goal was to bead while watching T.V. or rather, while NOT watching T.V when my husband is on one of his click-click-click nights. Keep him company but also to do something with my hands. Stringing works well in this capacity, so I've made a lot of necklaces to learn how to do it better and started giving them away. My friends have been generous with their praise so I finally took them into a local shop called Koi. The owner is an extremely nice person and was willing to look at what I had. She bought four of my necklaces. Hooray!!!
A friend of mine has expressed a concern that beading might supplant writing in my life and I have to admit, sometimes it's tempting. Let's face it, something new always seems more exciting than something you've done for a long time. And it is FUN.
So now to the question, to bead or not to bead.
One of the major snags in my writing process is intensity. This isn't the same thing as passion. Intensity is more binding, more limiting, more apt to paralyze. More like being UPTIGHT. Passion opens the heart, allows you to take risks, frees your mind.
Writing has been so important to me for so long that it's worn me out. I wanted to please. I wanted to make people love my writing. And wanted to do it right. And all that concern about acceptance played into my self doubt. Sapped up my passion. Where in those desires was my initial reason for writing? No where. And it ceased to be fun.
Eventually, I got tired of trying to please anyone but myself. To let go and let it be fun again. That doesn't mean being self-indulgent and not working hard. Using my craft to create something good is always the goal. Now I want to focus on what will please me. This idea of "doing it for myself" is also my attitude toward beading.
Stringing little necklaces in front of the T.V. has helped me to appreciate the lesson of acquiring skills without worrying about being perfect, published, or praised. No one session is any more important than anything else I might do. I don't have to have stellar results EVERY TIME.
I work at my beads, practice to get better, play with it. I am relaxed and my whole ego is not tied up in whether or not anyone will like my jewelry. I'm not saying I'm not pleased when someone says "This is pretty. " I am saying, wow, I like it too. Cool.
And sometimes its better if I'm not paying much attention. My best ideas and combinations for beads come when I'm distracted by the noise in the room, the conversational between me and Tim. When I'm distracted, I let the creative part of me to seep out, unedited, uncensored.
I've noticed this too in writing. Best place for me for writing is the elliptical at the gym with my Ipod on, folding laundry, taking a shower, sleeping. I'm not trying to so hard then. I'm distracted by other things and the creativity has a chance to emerge.
When I sat down to write this, I was thinking that beading had shown me this lesson of relaxation, but I now realize that I've learned it through writing too. When I started beading, it was always in my mind to "give it up to the universe" and "what happens happens." And I can see that's exactly where I arrived in my writing about two years ago. And putting words on paper became fun again.
I love writing. I won't quit. And I've come to believe that beading will actually enhance my efforts to write. It's a better "break" from writing than the hours I've spent playing "Bejeweled."
*Becoming a member is a great idea because the meetings are packed with speakers on crime, police methodology, pathology, etc. The membership includes professional writers, as-yet unpublished writers, and fans. This coming weekend, the Los Angeles Chapter is holding their conference "No Crime Unpublished." Go here if you're interested. You can sign up at the door.