Sarah gets a wet kiss! 

Sarah gets a wet kiss! 

It’s La Rentrée in France. And I’m just back from a glorious three week break. Three weeks, people!

But during that time I could not bring myself to crack open any of the many projects I’d brought along to work on.

At first, I felt very guilty about this. Then I grew worried. Was something wrong with me?

Finally, my husband and daughter scooped me up in their loving arms and reminded me that I hadn’t allowed myself a break in a very, very, very long time. We’re talking years, folks!

Such is the life of the full-time (and then some) author/entrepreneur.

So, I gave in. I really had no other choice. 

I slept, sometimes 12 hours at a stretch, took long walks and lazy country drives. I practiced yoga and bought fresh produce right off the farm. I cooked. I ate. I read. And I slept some more.

Then an amazing thing happened: I got a story idea. An idea that has no relation of any kind with either Time Traveler Tales or Time Traveler Tours.

I spent time, every day, for the remainder of my vacation writing creatively. Improvising. Playing with words. Having fun. Because that’s what happens when you stop, make space and let inspiration happen.

And I'm thrilled to say the first draft of my new chapter book is nearly done!

I've spent so much time these past two years, since the launch of Beware Mme la Guillotine, working on my author platform: puzzling out social media, working around an editorial calendar, marketing, attending conferences, trying to make sense of the ever-evolving publishing industry, building a new website.

And it’s all been good.

But I’ve slipped up on making time for the one true thing that got me here in the first place; the one true thing I need to do to drive my writing career forward:

Writing.

I’m reminded of the advice Laurie Halse Anderson offered in her Keynote Address at SCBWI-LA 2013: that Children’s authors should seek to remain children themselves.

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We can't do that without a bit of play from time to time.

Laurie suggested we plaster our creative spaces with souvenirs of who we were as five year olds. She encouraged us to "embrace the sanctity of silliness”, because that’s what children do. Everyday. She beseeched us to “create bravely now”, like children. Because they never ask for permission to create. They just do it.

Stop worrying about your platform, she spat. (Literally. She hocked a super loogey. And spat. Right on the stage floor. I kid you not!) And write, she implored.

I loved these words then, and I love them now. But I can only partially agree with them. For those of us who have not yet been discovered -- who have not yet broken out, who do not yet have numerous award-winning books to our names -- we don’t have the luxury of spitting on our author platforms. We have to worry about them. And we need give them time them everyday.

But we must not get sucked up by them.

We need to find that balance between creativity and career.

Balance can be so difficult in our profession. Finding creative time versus career time versus family time, etc., requires clever scheduling, knowing one’s best work habits and constant discipline.

In the midst of it all, we must not forget our own down time. We owe it to ourselves. Every year. Every week. Every day.

For that’s when inspiration happens.

How do you find balance? How do make time for both creativity and career?

Please click ‘comments’ at the right and offer your tips and advice, for my benefit and the benefit of all author/entrepreneurs.

Merci et Bonne Rentrée!
May the 2013-14 school year be OUR year!


Bisous (big kiss), Sarah

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