Tag Archives: Creativity

Only Child asks where’s the time for creativity?

Symbol of what Only Child wants to do - write

Symbol of what Only Child wants to do – write

An old school friend I keep in touch with asked if I had time to recharge my creative batteries. This was in response to my email where I told him about being up beyond eyeballs promoting my new mystery novel Beyond Blood, working with editing and writing clients, getting the house and garden ready for winter, etc. etc.

Yeah, he is right. In all this scurrying around in overwhelm the only creative juices flowing seem to be those directed at trying to fit everything in each day…and squealing when something on the “to do” list doesn’t get done.

So, I’m going through another pruning of what I can, can’t and just plain won’t do – especially after a big “zoo day” last Friday – meeting with client and the guy cleaning the eavestroughs doing other odd jobs here at the same time. First planned and the second one – not much choice with weather and the guy’s schedule. I didn’t appreciate the plumbing emergency that occurred right after and having to get in the regular handyman who specializes in plumbing and electrical work. And because the forecast was for rain on the weekend I had to spend the afternoon raking leaves, etc. I do enjoy gardening but Friday afternoons are my time to write. Haven’t had many of these Friday afternoons lately and my head is swimming with ideas for my next mystery novel. I’ve started writing it.

So, what are the big delay-causers – besides house repairs and other housework?

Emails. I don’t mean family and friends but business-related and all those email listserves/newsletters I’m on. So, for the rest of November, emails related to current clients, work, and book promo I will answer. But anyone – writer or otherwise who wants me to do something for them – forget it. I especially get my dander up when another writer asks me what to do about something or to do it when really they should be doing the research for it. Research is part of being a writer and passing along doing the research to another writer doesn’t sit too well with me. Different story if you are my client, or it’s at a writing group meeting or if I’m teaching you in a group workshop.

As for those listserves/e-newsletters – I’ve unsubscribed from many of them and a few more are on probation.

I also set a timer when I do email. Excluding book promo where I have to write PR proposals, etc. in the email, when the timer rings I finish the email I am doing and then that’s it. Anything else can wait for another day. And my timer only goes to 60 minutes.

In other words I’m turning into a hard-ass. It’s either that or the nut-house or as my favourite (sarcastic) expression these days is

“I’m waiting for my fatal heart attack.”

I don’t really want that to happen. I have a lot of living I still want to do.

And about my book Beyond Blood, see my other blog www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com and my publisher’s website http://bluedenimpress.com/

Go to my website www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood. Scroll down to gigs and you’ll see where I’ll be with my book for November. I’ll be posting some to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-A-Crawford/412730865439394

Or Goodreads (which needs updating badly).

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4636581.Sharon_A_Crawford

I find Goodreads cumbersome to move around in. Anyone want to help me out there, please comment.

But probably not today. However, this post will be linked to Facebook and Linked In.

Time marches on.

Here is a cover shot of my new mystery novel Beyond Blood

Cover of Only Child's first published mystery novel

Cover of Only Child’s first published mystery novel

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Beyond Blood, email overload, Family and Friends, Home and Garden, Organizing and Deleting, Plumbing, Sharon A. Crawford, Weather, Writing

Only Child on creativity and the word “no”

Only Child again in contemplative mode – this time on  creativity and the word “no.”

It might be hard to see a connection between the words “creativity” and “no.” However, I’m finding a few associations here. “No” can be a big factor and word in order to do whatever it is you do to be creative. In my case it is writing; more specifically, rewriting my prequel mystery novel to meet my publisher’s deadline to look at it.

I do have third and fourth factors to consider – my freelance work, particularly freelance editing. Ideally it would be a good idea to take three months off to finish rewriting the novel. However, I need the money to eat and pay bills. I also like editing. So, I’m comprising – I’m taking two and a half to three weeks off around Christmas to not only spend time with family and close friends, but to do some rewriting of my novel. Right now I have to steal a few hours here and there from regular work. My eyes do not do late at night at the computer well and my weekends are filled with catching up on personal email and phone calls, seeing family and friends, a bit of housework (I can’t afford to pay someone to do it), and now Christmas decorations, food shopping and the rest of the present shopping. I also want time to read the newspaper and books, walk, and watch TV.

The fourth factor is being an only person – no partner/husband or siblings to help out (financially or otherwise).

Here is where “no” comes in. When I was growing up and long after, my modus operandi was to please others. Some of that still remains – and it is a good thing where clients are concerned. However,  I am learning to say “no” to more things than I used to.

For instance, I have clamped down on clients/former clients looking for freebies, something I alluded to in last week’s post. Long after the contract work is done they want me to monitor their query letters (which I wrote under contract) to literary agents or look at part of a book proposal they wrote or they go on an extended email campaign to get a hold of a publisher via me. The first one I quit working for, the second one I sent the format outline for a book proposal but politely declined to look at the book proposal part; and the third one I just stopped returning emails – something I should have done sooner in that particular correspondence once I gave the person one piece of vital information. (I did say, I’m learning to say “no.” I just need to make a better decision when.)

Now that I’m a published author I’m refusing to read an unpublished author’s full manuscript for free. Later, I might do a trade – when there is time. I also keep my mentoring of other writers to members of the Canadian Authors Association – I am the Toronto branch Writer in Residence and there are obligations here to honour.  The other group is my own East End Writers’ Group which I run. It’s a writing critique group so we do group critiques and I bring in speakers (and also speak myself) on different writing and publishing topics. At my meetings I willingly give any suggestions/advice I can (and ask for it from others). One thing that came out of this (I did the asking) is a trade – one member is helping me organize my marketing for my short story collection and in turn I will evaluate one of her short stories.

Perhaps that is the answer to some of the “no” issues. Do a trade with the other person. Or refer them elsewhere.

In my personal life there are also time issues – such as housecleaning. As I can’t afford to pay for cleaning services, I’ve decided my house can live with being not so clean and not so tidy as others so I do minimal weekend cleaning (although I do a big houseclean before the East End Writers’ Group comes or before family and friends come over for dinner, etc.). Now, I just have to live with the setup and not feel guilty.

And for pseudo-no issues, I use the “delay” tactic. For example, more purging of stuff (mostly paper) in the house, gets scheduled in winter when I do only indoor gardening. In summer, the “stuff” inside takes the trunk (below even the back seat) to my garden outside.

Now, if I could just get my mind to stop its whirling about what to do and what not to do… Have to consider my health too.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Balance, Creativity, Delay tactics, East End Writers' Group, Family and Friends, Help and Support, Helping Others, Living alone, Money, Only child, Prioritizing, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child’s Creativity comes from where?

Only Child’s late Mom – a creative influence

I’m continuing in this creativity vein from last week’s post. There are other areas where my creativity has saved me many times in many areas of my life – problem-solving, juggling clients, and of course writing.

This got me wondering. Just where did my creativity come from?

My mother? She tended to take after the practical side of her family – the Schefters and was good in the business and budgeting end. However, she was also a Strauss (no relation to the 1800s’ composer Johannes Strauss – but our Strauss ancestors came from the same Black Forest neck of the woods). Mom’s creativity showed up in how she approached honesty and got me involved in it. In my memoir, Chapter 5 , “Mom’s Ten Rules of Honesty,” Mom was determined that I would get my just desserts, so she created this story.

“Eat your dessert or the police will come and get you,” Mom says. She points to the front door and nods her head like I better do it or else the Black Maria will roll up the driveway and scoop me up into its dark interior.

I stare down at my bowl. Stewed huckleberries and apples. Black smashed berries and their dark juice seep through the apples. Yuck. Smothering the stew in vanilla ice cream can’t hide the taste of huckleberries, a taste that sits in the middle between sweet and bitter. But Mom insists on growing these strange berries in her garden.

“Sharon, did you hear me?” Mom gets up from the kitchen table, scurries into the living room and stares out the front window. “Oh, I can see a police car coming up the street; it’s turning into the driveway.”

I start to shovel the mixture down my throat. Then I jump up and take my turn at the living room window. Down the street, Mare’s father cuts his front lawn; Mrs. Armstrong sits on her front veranda, with her collie dog at her feet, and a couple of finned cars cruise up the road towards the dead-end street. Our driveway at 139 lolls in its usual empty state. When I finally get the nerve to look straight down at the veranda outside the window, all I see are the two Muskoka chairs – vacant. (Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford).

Mom was also supportive of my creativity – writing and teaching. Maybe that’s partly it – heredity and support. The rest is my own doing.

I try to live my life creatively. When you are an “only person” and have to depend on yourself, you have to be creative. Finances and budgeting are especially important. Sure, there are financial planners and advisers and I do get advice from the experts. But I have to decide how to bring in the money and how to use it best. Sometimes I do well at it and other times not so well. Perhaps the biggest most recent hurdle was last December when I had to live on under $1,000 – including “stealing” from the money saved to pay off my glasses when the year’s financial payment grace period ran out. Fortunately that turned into 13 months because of the timing of ordering my glasses the previous year and Sears billing date.

It also meant working hard to get more clients so in January things turned around and I got out from under.

Juggling clients when you are running your own business also requires creativity. I’ve had to learn tact (definitely not inherited from Mom), time management (still learning), and when to say “no” (especially to clients and would-be clients who want freebie work done). Then there is the bane of most of us unless we live in the dark ages – computer problems. I can’t solve most of mine – but I use my creativity to figure out what to do (after swearing a lot) – call in a computer techie, figure it out for myself, etc.

House and property problems require the same type of creativity – to do or to delegate. I do both but the former has tried my creativity and I’ve learned that sometimes what you think you can’t do, you can. However, I still won’t climb up on a ladder beyond my height (5’ 1”) because of Vertigo. That’s being practical so I can survive to be creative.

What are some of the ways you live creatively?

I may delve more into creativity in next week’s post.

Meantime, take a look at my latest creative effort – my debut collection of mystery short stories Beyond the Tripping Point. Click on the book cover below for more information.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Only Child aka Sharon A. Crawford’s debut short story collection

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Filed under Beyond the Tripping Point, Budget and budgeting, Computer problems, Decisions, Living alone, Memoir content, Mother, Only child memoir, Problem solving, Sharon A. Crawford, short story collection