Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A change to come

I've decided to change how I blog. Instead of trying to keep up a regular record of happenings and reflections as I've been doing since January 1st, 2006, I'll be blogging just once a month, in the last week of the month. It will still be here at the same address but more like a monthly newsletter. The reason is mainly a matter of time and priorities. I've been a bit burned-out. It's great that my new novel has just been published but I'm finding that good things can take their toll on your adrenals and fatigue level as much as not-so-good. I'm presently working on a manuscript, homeschooling my family, trying to begin a small party-plan business and teaching Blake's Sunday School class in three week blocks. At the same time there's housework and exercise to contend with too. To be honest, it's all been getting on top of me so I decided something has to slide but couldn't decide what.

I didn't want it to be my blog. I love my blog. I love the friends I've made. I love blogging the way I've been doing it until now. But when I came up with the idea of doing a monthly newsletter, I figured out that it'll be a nice compromise. I expect it to be better in many ways.

1) Anyone who'd like to visit here and leave a comment will have a more definite idea of when I'll be saying something, so you don't need to keep coming over to check.
2) I'll definitely have much more to say. After storing up my thoughts in a journal all month, I'll never get blog-freeze again.
3) I'll be able to devote more time to reading the posts of others, because the time I devote to blogs will be freed up.
4) My thoughts will be less scattered. I'll be more focused.
5) I guess it means there'll be only twelve posts/year. That'll be weird but I'm expecting they'll be longer, newsier and more interesting.

I've convinced myself! Now I can hardly wait until the last week of October for my first newsletter. I'll be back then.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

One ingredient for happiness

I was reading an interesting article about people in Iceland. It turns out psychologists have discovered they are population exceptionally high on the happiness scale. That seemed worth checking out for a place with such a bleak climate. When researchers went over there, their findings were very interesting. It seems Icelandic people don't have the same way of assessing failure and success as most of the western world. When people execute a task, they don't sit back and rate its merit as we do. And they don't have as many critics who come and tell them where they are falling short. They just get on with their work and have fun. As a result, it turns out there are more people who call themselves artists, writers and musicians. It is a very creative hub of the world.

I loved that. My first thought was, Well, how do they know when they need to improve? The more I pondered that, the more I thought it's not really an issue. When you love your work enough to pour lots of time and effort into it, you can't help improving. Improving is a natural process, like cream rising to the top of fresh milk. And why does it even matter if you're no Shakespeare or Beethoven or Picasso, as long as you're enjoying yourself? It comes down to the path you travel being as significant as the destination. If you don't begin these creative pursuits you want to try just because you think you don't have enough talent, think of the enjoyment you miss out on. I take my hat off to the population of Iceland. They're a wise nation.

As far as my own writing is concerned, I don't think about all those far more talented and celebrated authors. I just get on with what I enjoy. When people tell me that they loved reading my stories too, I think, Well, there you are. If I'd listened to my own misgivings, I wouldn't have been the only one missing out on a bit of fun.

Having mentioned Picasso, I found a wonderful quote by him. I am always doing what I can't do in order that I may learn how to do it. Maybe this attitude is what actually makes a master creator. Of course there's also the good old quote by Goethe, Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
By the way, copies of my new book "A Design of Gold" have arrived, if anybody would like to check out my website.