Friday, May 9, 2008

Living a Creative Life

I have a few extra minutes this morning to take a breath and sip some coffee.
The past month has been busy, as will be the next month. But nothing makes me happier. See, the difference in being busy and happy and being busy and stressed, lies in what you're doing. Over the past decade, I've gotten pretty good at deciding what I like to do (what I'm good at) and what I hate doing (what I'm lousy at).
I know if I chose to take on a project, it's because I know, with a good amount of certainty, that it will be rewarding. I love creating things, inspiring creativity in other people/children and generally leading a creative life. Creativity is the key word.
All the things I chose to do with my life revolve around this word: writing (and revising: major creative skills needed here), teaching, entertaining, mural making, reading, fundraising, mothering (perhaps the most creative undertaking of them all!).
Oh, I know, life is filled with things we hate to do. Sure, I get that. But we still have a lot of choice in what and how we chose to live our days.
What is your key word? What inspires you to chose projects or careers? What are you fantastic at? What do you suck at? It would be fun to read about what makes you tick.

Spent last night showing my mural samples to parents at Brandon School. The response was gratifying. It's a joy for me to help beautify our school with this sea-inspired mural. Can't wait to post pictures when it's all done. Thanks Brandon!

On never assuming it's a "no"....received an email from an agent yesterday wondering if I ever received her response from a query I sent back in February. This discerning agent actually followed up with me! Of course, I hadn't received her earlier email so I was more than happy to send along a submission packet. You never know.

Just finished reading The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Another book where I would love to paste my title over hers. Love the cover! The book was fantastic. Jen Robinson recommended this. Very interesting 3rd person narrative. Great main character. Terrific voice. Great read, what more can I say?


  1. An agent followed up with you! How fantastic!
    What am I fantastic at? -> Not being afraid to tackle new things (and working to get better at this all the time).
    What do I suck at? -> Gosh, to put anything down would implant the idea more in my mind. So I refrain. :)
    Happy weekend to you!

  2. Glad to hear that Frankie lived up to expectations. The sad thing is that I haven't read it yet (but it was on my list of books I want to read, so I'm sure that's where you saw it).

    I have to say, it's inspiring to read about someone who is so happy with her choices. For me, I think the word that inspires me is reading. I want to be reading myself, and even more, I want to help kids learn to love reading. That's the force behind my blog, and what I do with my spare time, though my day job isn't about that. But when I'm deciding what to do with my blog, I'm definitely motivated by "will this help parents or teacher to help kids learn to love books?" Those are the things I can't resist, and where I'll make the time.

    As for what I'm good at, I think I'm pretty good at synthesizing information: taking information from various sources, filtering through it, and presenting back a useful sub-set to people.

    What I'm bad at: anything that requires talking on the phone (I have become downright phone-phobic over the years). And I'm working on a way to spend less of my time traveling, but I haven't had much success at it so far.

    Anyway, thanks for making me think!

  3. PJ: I love that you try new things. You are unique; I don't know many engineers who are writers of teen fiction! My husband is a computer engineer and he struggles with fiction...what's the point of reading something that never happened? Thanks for sharing!

    Jen: You and I share what we're bad at. I don't particularly love talking on the phone, especially if asking for something. Family and close friends are my only exception!
    It makes since that "reading" is your verb of choice. Your blog very nicely conveys this love.

  4. GREAT post! My key word? It would have to be fantasy. I'm inspired by the fantastic all around me and look for the magic in just about everything. What inspires me to chose projects or careers? Passion. If I don't love it, I can't do it. My passions have changed over the years, but a few passions that have remained constant are ones for my family and for kids, teenagers in particular. I love this time in my life where I am able to indulge two of my passions, traveling and writing. It's a gift. I love stories. My blog reflects little stories that I hope inspire story ideas in my readers.


  5. I've been thinking about your question all day, Patty.

    And, I find it funny that Tricia answered with the very answer I would have given. I'm not afraid of new things--new projects, starting something new, learning new things.

    What I found odd about myself is that the thing I feel I am worst at--being the boss of anyone--is the thing people like for me to do. I have an air of competence about me (not bragging) that is false. I'm not sure why that is! (Actually, lately I've come to think it's because I write and speak directly.) In any case, I hate to be the boss or to engage in any boss-like activities, yet...

  6. Laura: Travel and writing. Just like your recent YA! It's interesting how we choose projects based on our interests. And when it comes to writing, boy, the subject sure has to be something we are passionate about.

    Kelly: Interesting! It's funny how we get sucked into doing things based on the perception of others. It's a tough pattern to break. You're not alone. We all have skills and perhaps former jobs/careers that we were quite good at. I was a clothing designer, but never really LOVED it. But yet, it was my career for over a decade.

    I love how this question reveals the personalities of my cyberspace friends!
    Thanks for responding!

  7. Patty, I'm still working in that job that I'm good at that I don't love, for various complex reasons. At least it funds what I do love. The sad thing is that it took me until well into my 30's to realize that just because I'm good at something doesn't mean that I have to do it. Now I'm on a very slow path towards doing more of what I love, and less of what I don't love, but it's taking some time...

    Kelly, I wish you the strength to push back on boss-like activities. I don't like them, either.

  8. Hey Patty,
    So cool that the agent contacted you again - great news! Enjoying your posts - miss seeing you and Maggie.

  9. Hey Angela!
    We miss you too. Do you think Val will ever start up again??? Maybe we need a reunion!

  10. It can't hurt to ask Val - I'm not sure how busy she is being our local rep and all. It'd be fun to get a group together. Just say when! Angela

  11. Wow--that's great that an agent followed up! It means your query REALLY stuck with her! Fingers are crossed!


I love hearing what you have to say...thanks for visiting.