Today feels like a day to look back and reflect on this writing journey I’ve been on. Thirteen years, five published novels, two works in process, several reader surveys, and an award-winning blog – not bad as a second act. Would that be faint praise? Am I underselling myself or understating the magnitude of these accomplishments? I suppose that’s for others to judge – and this is NOT a request for affirmation, instead, I truly am reflecting.
My wonderful son-in-law gave me a book for Mothers Day – In The Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney. A lovely and unexpected gift that I delved into last week with interest, after all it’s not every day that I get such a treat! As I dipped into the pages that feature women with such diverse talents as furniture designer, television host, illustrator, jewelry designer, musician and author, I was struck by how their advice resonated with me.
Below are just a few of the many examples that made me stop and think.
Tavi Gevinson, writer and magazine editor in chief: “I have a physical aversion to wasting time.” Check! And why is that? What does it mean to waste time? Perhaps there is no wasted time, merely alternative ways to explore, experience, enjoy, and embrace time.
Preeti Mistry, Chef, reflecting on success: “I can’t put my finger on what ‘success’ truly looks like for me but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.” This calls out to my world and the need to appreciate all manner of successes both large and small, public and private.
Jodie Patterson, Beauty Entrepreneur: “I rely on six touchpoint to make myself feel whole: Kids, love, business, health, travel, spirituality. If I touch them all each day, in varying intensities, I am successful.” Jodie’s words remind me not to forget what’s truly important in life.
Karen Young, Product Designer: “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to prepare for the long haul, the rise and fall, and let neither define your sense of self.” Well, that’s an important notion. There certainly is a ‘long haul’ involved in writing novels and in the whole process of becoming known to readers. A very long haul. But the other part of her statement is probably more important: let neither define your sense of self. A notion to ponder.
Mariam Pare, Artist and Designer: “Creative women see opportunity in everything. They push boundaries.” I’ve always liked to think of myself as using boundaries. Certainly tried to do that during my business career. I suppose, at heart, I dislike the notion of boundaries and the sense of constraint implied on my freedom to act. These days, one of the boundaries that keeps haunting me is age. I’m 72. I like to think I have lots of time but do I? Should I retreat rather than push forward? Should I slow down and “smell the roses”?
Jonna Twigg, Bookbinder: “Having patience means being at peace with the time it takes to do something right and to its fullest.” Perhaps I need to create differently. Perhaps I need to write and blog with peacefulness in mind rather than deadlines. Perhaps that peacefulness will lead to more creativity, more joy, more fulfilment.
Do any of these resonate for you? More musings in another post. Your thoughts and reflections are very welcome.
M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel is THE ADMIRAL’S WIFE, a dual timeline set in Hong Kong. Mary’s other novels, PARIS IN RUINS, TIME AND REGRET, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.