Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Nasty Case of the Shoulds

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There is a fantastic post over at The Elevnsies today.

It is an interview with author KL Going -- you know, the Printz award winner and author of great novels like, Fat Kid Rules the World and St. Iggy and The Liberation of Gabriel King....


something she said struck me

it was in answer to the question, "What advice would you give aspiring writers?"


she responded:

My best writing advice is something I've learned from life experience. It's one of those truths that I often forget and have to relearn over and over again. But here it is: Life is more important than writing. Living my life, to the fullest, experiencing the world, traveling, tasting, seeing new things, loving my family and friends, learning interesting skills...this is where success lies, not in being published. The beautiful twist is that these are also the very things that will infuse my writing with heart.


Don't you agree?

Life if more important that writing. Living life is what fuels the realism in our work.

So often we get a nasty case of the shoulds


I should have blogged today instead of visiting with my neighbor

I should have written 2,000 words today instead of planting the garden

I should be published

I should be ...blah, blah, blah

No. We should first live life. Experience relationships. See new and interesting things. Consider differences in cultures and belief systems.

It is what fills our creative wells, so to speak. It is what makes us artists.

So - what will you do this week? Me? I'm pushing my fingers into the soil and planting my garden. I'm hoping to laugh with friends and see the exact flow of colors that lead through a spring sunset. I'm hoping to live a little.
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31 comments:

gae polisner said...

I agree, Tess. Great reminder. For me, it's more the waiting than the writing that sometimes paralyzes me from going out and doing other things. I needed Kelly's words today to remind me to get off my ass and go see the world -- I can wait out there instead of in here. Of course, it would help if I got out of my pajamas, first. Ok, I'll see the world tomorrow. :)

Alissa said...

I agree completely. Me time is very important. I think some long walks outside are definitely in order this weekend.

Tere Kirkland said...

So true, which is part of the reason I've switched from blogging five times a week to only once. It's definitely helped me to juggle all the other "balls" in my life. Did I say balls? I meant running chainsaws! ;)

thanks for this, Tess!

Carolyn V. said...

Ohhh, good advice. Living is what should come first. But sometimes I still get the would have should haves. =)

PJ Hoover said...

Fantastic post, Tess. I love being reminded of this. It's so easy to get caught up in all the shoulds of writing and the writing world.

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

True, true, but the pull to write is a great one and it's not just from should haves, it's from have tos.

It's a good reminder, thought, thanks.

Suzyhayze said...

I'm right here, in this very place with you right now! As always.....

Jen said...

Where have you been all day?! Oh wait... you've been out living your life!! Thank god for sharing this piece of valid information. We so often forget to live our lives and stay in the case of the shoulds... what an excellent way to put it!!!

Makes you feel less bad about spending some time by yourself, rollerblading, or just watching a movie!

Sarah said...

Well said, Tess! I needed to read this. I've got craziness at work the next two weeks, but I'll be sure to take tiny mental vacations along the way. : )

Abby Annis said...

What a great reminder, Tess! Thanks! :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Tess--I haven't written a thing all week, but...tonight we picked up my husband's first Harley. It was refreshing to see your post on living your life. :) Thanks for the reminder...

Mary Aalgaard said...

I'll be hosting a b-day party for my twin sons who turn 10 tomorrow. And, on Sunday, we're celebrating my firt born's confirmation. I'll be doin' alotta livin'! And, collecting the stories of life.

Tess said...

Seems a lot of living going on out there ... it is wonderful to hear what you all are up to. thanks for sharing!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I think having kids keeps it real for me. This past weekend we went to a book fair, the beach, and a free outdoor concert. They only have so much tolerance for mommy being on the computer and I'm glad. They make me live life and have fun :)

Terresa said...

"We should first live life." I think this is going to end up on a poster board beside my computer. Such truth!

That said, I've been weeding like crazy this week, in actual dirt and rocks until my back aches. And I love it.

paulgreci said...

Very true, Tess. We have to live. Tonight I paddled Goldstream Creek with a couple friends. You can only float the creek just after the ice goes out. Otherwise it's too shallow and has too many obstacles. And yes, life feeds writing. Thanks for an inspiring post!!

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I need to weed, and clean the house. The rest of life is hanging over my head! But I'm guessing that is not your point...

I'll figure out this life/ work balance soon enough. Thanks for the reminder

Scott said...

My garden's been planted for a few weeks now. Tomatoes have flowers, basil's doubled in size, and the squash and zuchinni plants are flourishing. Yum. So, I plan to read some more of The Help and watch a movie or three this weekend. Woo-hoo. Oh, then there's that party on Friday night that I did not turn down the invite to. And, I'll write. It's all about balance and that famous song from the Starland Vocal Band! Ha!

Amy Saia said...

I think that is true. Most of our life should be in living mode, with certain portions set aside for serious work. After awhile, we learn how to combine the two together so that the separation isn't so hard.

Mary Campbell said...

Love that advice - so true. How can we write if we don't live. I need to work on this.

lotusgirl said...

This is exactly what I've been doing this last couple of weeks. Blogging was put on the back burner. I have been doing other things that I needed to. I should be back next week in the blogging arena. This is great advice for all of us. It is so easy to get sucked into writing and blogging and all things internet that we leave the real people around us wanting. Moderation in all things is what I'm shooting for.

Elana Johnson said...

To living!!!

Kelly H-Y said...

Such true words!!! Thank you!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Oh, Tess, I really needed to read this post! Thank you!!! I may print it out and tack it over my desk. *smiles*

Stephanie McGee said...

Now that I've lived through finals I hope to get out tomorrow morning and take some photographs. Then I'll write a little before work and write when I get home from work.

Wendy Sparrow said...

That's so completely true. I just wish I could find balance. Le sigh.

Talli Roland said...

Great post and I totally agree! I went to a talk by an agent last week and she said we have to write because we love writing, not just to get publihsed. Thanks for the reminder!

Susan Fields said...

Excellent point, Tess! I know that's something I need to remind myself of constantly - it's so easy to get caught up in the writing and blogging (it's just so darn fun!) This week is actually my in-between week between reading my wip from start-to-finish (I did it last week and will do it again next week), so while I do have some writing tasks on the agenda (researching agents, etc.), I'm also going to make summer arrangements (camps, vacations, etc.), spring clean, cook, and play games with my kids. :)

Jill Kemerer said...

Nice! And so hard to remember. I'm reading with my kids, keeping up with the jogging, and maybe even baking a cake. We'll see!

Sarah Skilton said...

I enjoyed this post a lot, especially the reminder to keep things in perspective. Thanks for sharing. And it's so true -- when I'm out walking, riding a bike, or enjoying life away from the computer, that's often when I get my best ideas!

Tess said...

ah, yes...spring is here and I am feeling reconnected to the world outside my office. Isn't it a wonderful thing? It really has helped me realign my priorities a bit ... we have so few warm months here. and, like so many of you said...those outside moments prompt better writing. thanks to you all :)