Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Passion, Priorities and Promises

Someone emailed me awhile back with a question: How do you keep the enthusiasm going for your writing?

I can answer in three words:

Passion

Priorities

Promises

Only now I need more words to elaborate so here we go:

By Passion, I mean one's talent, dreams, goals, desires. And like most writers, mine was to write and be published. That happened early on. My first story sold when I was 25, and I had articles published in a local newspaper. Then my Passion became to write a novel and get it published. Guess what, that never happened until nearly 40 years later, due to Priorities. My novel House of Diamonds is about a writer who must postpone her passion due to her priorities, and yes it is autobiographical.

Priorities -- those things that one is responsible for based on choices made. Like children in my case. My husband and I had ten children, and little did my clueless self realize how much time, attention, and energy they'd take for many years to come. I absolutely was not able to focus on writing a book while I was in this child-nurturing phase. Some women may be able to do it. I couldn't. So I wrote short pieces, and journaled, and sold a couple more stories.

Promises to oneself go deep and never really go away, even when they may not happen until years later. When I was a child I promised myself I'd be a writer. I never lost the Passion. I put it on hold due to Priorities. And now I am keeping that Promise.

But there is one more P word which can derail all of it. Can you guess what that is?

Procrastination

It's one thing to postpone the work because another Priority takes precedence. Oh my this post is just full of P words! But when your time is now and still you procrastinate for no really good reason, well then just stop it! Because you owe it to yourself to keep your promises. (And this is what I tell myself on a regular basis.)

This is me with two of my Priorities who grew up to help me realize my Passion. The little boy (Billy #5) edited Farm Girl and the little girl (Liesel #6) has edited all my other books.




23 comments:

  1. Ahh, I love this. I just wrote about how my writing keeps getting lower on the priority list and you just put it in perspective. My promise is so strong, that I have made the decision that it needs to be moved up. Great post. Have a good day!

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  2. Ten children!! I didn't know! I enjoyed this blog post as it speaks to me. I have that promise to myself too that someday, no matter how long, I will write the book that gets published.

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  3. Like you I always wanted to be a writer, but that didn't happen until about 10 years ago. And now it's just so crazy, I have to prioritize things I never thought I would need to. Schedule the laundry? who knew. But I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

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  4. Beautiful photo, Karen, and this post i beautiful as well. SO glad you are getting to live your passion now. That's not to say you weren't passionate about raising 10 lovely children. But this one's just for you!

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  5. I love this post.

    I've been thinking a lot about priorities, myself. Promises, too. I recently decided to step back from some of the things I was taking on, temporarily at least, so I could focus more time on preparing for Silent Oath's release and working on my next series, a YA steampunk fantasy. My priorities have shifted. For me now, it's my family (both by blood and through friendship) and my writing that have to to take top place. My promise is that I will get back to those other priorities, which still mean as much to me, when I can do so without those two suffering, or burning myself out.

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    1. Paul, Funny how something that sounds so clear and simple when written becomes such a huge task in practice. But take it from me, it's all worth it!

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  6. Hi Karen - it's the way of life with kids isn't .. you are quite the homebody .. as the cuddly photo of #s5 and 6 ... can't quite used to the # sign for number!

    I haven't ready House of Diamonds yet - so now need to go read and understand the autobiographical elements in it .. a great way to re-open that door to writing ...

    Also wonderful your family is involved with you in proof-reading and editing your books ...

    Cheers and here's to lots more books and stories ahead .. Hilary

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  7. This is why I enjoy reading your books. Love the quote at the end of House of Diamonds: I am doing a great work and cannot come down. I've thought of that often as I've published one book and now with six children my writing time seems to have evaporated. I rarely even blog anymore because my priorities (six to be exact) need lots of time and attention. That's as it should be right now. Thanks for the reminder and the courage to write about it on your blog.

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    1. Kate, This comment warms my heart. Thank you.

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  8. And here I was impress by Queen Victoria and her nine children! You out did her, by golly. How wonderful for you. And they're your editors. Can't ask for more than that.

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  9. Great photo, Karen. And those P words are all well said P words. :)
    ~Summer

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  10. sounds like you have everything in order, karen! wow--ten children, love it---mom of 8 here :)

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  11. Am amazed you have time to blog, with ten children to care for! But I bet you all have loads of fun!

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    1. JO, I am extremely flattered that you think I'm still a young mother caring for many children. Actually they've all left the nest and except for what I do to help pay the bills, my time is all my own now.

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  12. Procrastinate only when it's for something better.
    Ten kids still just blows my mind...

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  13. Ditto to all your "P"- (not peas!)
    You are one Powerful Person.

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    1. Mirka, Aw you don't like peas? I literally had to go through this post and change a whole lot of P words, as they kept popping up everywhere. Not sure if it's because English has a whole ton of common words that start with P or if it was just "P's" on my brain.

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  14. Fab post - I totally identify with that!

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  15. One more P for you: Persistence. You have it, and it's paid off. :)

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  16. Dear Karen, good "P" words and appropriate also for anyone who wants to achieve a goal in life--whether when young or older or old. And as "Linda G" says above, another "P" word is persistence or perseverance. What now I'm looking for an agent--I posted about that this past Sunday on my writing blog--and so I'm keeping a promise to myself. Thanks for the words and the thoughts. Peace.

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  17. Nice post and good advice! Gave you a shout out on my blog today that ou might find amusing :)

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