Sunday, December 29, 2013

Last Minute Lessons

As 2013 comes to a close, I find a deep desire to reduce the amount of busy-ness in my life, and create more time for productive, creative work. At the end of 2011, I moved from a house to a small apartment, and now two years later I've just moved from that same apartment into another house. The lesson of the move is that both time and space expand or contract based less on external conditions like the size of a place or the amount of work that needs to be done, and more on the attention I'm willing to give them in any moment.

A large house that is cluttered and messy can feel smaller than a tiny apartment that is clean and organized. And even a half hour devoted to my work in progress will yield significant creative results, if I am truly attentive, whereas hours of editing while my mind is elsewhere can evaporate before much headway is made.

Here are a few other lessons that come to mind as I use the last few days of 2013 to reflect on the year I became a published author. They are in no particular order of importance, as befits the last-minute nature of this post.

1. Authorship means negotiating a series of paradoxes. Writing is solitary and communal, it is art and business, it is work and joy, all at the same time. The parts of us that are profoundly uncomfortable with paradox shrink over time, and the parts of us that revel in these contrasts thrive.

2. Reading terrific books of all genres feeds my writing engine like nothing else.

3. My fellow authors create a beautiful community of mutual support and excitement. Every success within our group this year has been a reason for us all to celebrate.

4. I've always loved the rush of creating a first draft, of following a story where it leads me. I'm learning to appreciate the pleasure of painstaking editing, the passion of precision, and the fascination in fixing a single word or sentence.

5. The elimination of entire unnecessary passages brings a similar elation as the elimination of a pile or two of unnecessary stuff. Let it go. (I wrote a whole paragraph to explain this, and just deleted it. Ah, that felt good.)

6. The most important lesson of all, I believe, is the lesson of gratitude. This year sent many reasons to be grateful, in addition to a published novel. I'm certain next year will do the same. Thank the universe for them all.

I hope the transition to a new year brings you peace, joy, and opportunities to celebrate with loved ones.

Elizabeth Fountain is the author of An Alien's Guide to World Domination. Her second novel, You, Jane, will be published in spring of 2014. 
Point No Point - author blog & website
Elizabeth Fountain, Author - Facebook page


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Well and succinctly stated. I especially agree that reading is a great creative booster shot.

Happy New Year!

Liz Fountain said...

Happy new year Julie - you're an important member of this wonderful community!


Ceci Giltenan said...

Happy New Year Liz!

Liz Fountain said...

Thank you, Ceci - same to you! May 2014 bring you more success we can all celebrate!

laura bruno lilly said...

"5. The elimination of entire unnecessary passages brings a similar elation as the elimination of a pile or two of unnecessary stuff. Let it go." Ahh, yes... very cathartic! The new year brings me to a new round of editing and I'm excited to get to the real meat of my mss! Best to you.

Liz Fountain said...

Sounds wonderful, Laura - thanks for reading & commenting. I'm excited to follow your work in 2014!