Last week my writing routine (and income) took a major hit. Getting cut from my puppies.about.com site and getting cut or fired, in effect told you’re not wanted or needed, is pretty dang high on the suck-isity scale but BLEEDING IS GOOD FOR WRITERS — and by extension, bleeding is good for pets (figuratively speaking, of course!).
Anything truly beautiful and worthy of our passion has the power to cut. And anyone truly open to change and growth must be willing to sacrifice for their art–and yes, bleed.
It’s very easy to fall into a
routine *cough* RUT *cough* and for creatives, that’s deadly. For me, time is the most precious commodity in both my work life and outside life. Wait, who am I kidding? My work life and “outside” life are joined at the hip and that’s not always such a good thing. There is always MORE to do. Those who are FB friends are familiar with my to-do lists, and self-promises of “once THIS is done, then THAT will happen” and…as long as the About-puppy-schtuff demanded more and more time, those reward-end-goals on the list wouldn’t have ever happened.
My husband commiserated with me about the lost opportunity and then surprised me by saying, “I’m glad it happened. You never would have quit. Now you can…(all those things on my list).” After about 10-seconds of surprised silence, I took a breath and simply said,
So what has happened this last week? Did I get through all the “wanna-do” wish list?” Not really. In fact, not much happened on the writing front other than a few more to-do lists (I now have a list of the next 6 books to write!) I messed around with SEO, wrote a blog post and newspaper column, read a lot of blogs, a couple of wonderful books, and finally–finally–admitted the need for a REBOOT.
Those who regularly read this blog know I love shiny objects, so it should be no surprise I love art glass. My home is filled with stained glass panels and lamp shades, and even the rose garden boasts half a dozen glass mosaic pieces.
I even created a character in my Lost And Found and Hide And Seek suspense thrillers who works in stained glass. You know that stained glass table in September Day’s kitchen? It’s in my kitchen, and yes, I made it. By the way, the latest stop on the Hide And Seek Blog Tour posted here today.
The garden and the mosaic work has been neglected. It also needed a reboot. So I spent the past several days cleaning, repairing and re-cementing a couple of bird baths and garden table and I count that as valuable writing time. I’ve found over the years that any creative endeavor feeds across into other aspects of my life. Playing music inspires acting endeavors, designing glass feeds the writing muse, playing new games with the fur-kids offers a rich abundance of song material. So over this past weekend, I wrote nothing–instead, I heeded the call of shiny-brilliant-glass, and ended up bloody but smiling for my efforts. When working with glass you must expect to be cut.
Magical-Dawg doesn’t hesitate to go all out to chase down, leap high, and snatch Frisbees from the air. He’ll turn eight years old this month, and I fear he’ll injure himself and so keep the toys low to the ground. Seren-Kitty at 17 weighs less than half as much as the kitten, and could be severely injured by him, but her newest joy is teasing and then reprimanding the young whippersnapper. Karma-Kitten has discovered the joys of (eeek!) stalking, chasing, leaping to catch WASPS, and again I try to get to ’em first. Magic, Seren and Karma risk bleeding because the rewards outweigh the potential cut.
Hell, our cats and dogs take risks every day, just by loving clueless humans who may leave their hearts broken and bloody with disappointment — but oh, the risk is worth it when they can celebrate that Gotcha Day connection when dreams come true.
Yesterday I spent all afternoon putting together fun bios and questions for this weekend’s Thrillerfest when I’m a Panel Master on Saturday, and get to paw-tograph my dog viewpoint fiction next to best selling thriller authors. (stay tuned for video & pictures!). Meanwhile, all the getting cut and bleeding over the past week has done its job–sores are still a bit raw but healing commenced, and with it, oh-so-much new energy, inspiration and joy to come!
Maybe September Day needs a stained glass bird bath–or perhaps Macy and Shadow should deal with a new kitten in the next book SHOW AND TELL. Hmmnn.
Do you “bleed” for your passion? Have you had to do a career (or life) RE-BOOT? Do tell!
(All images Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC)
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!
Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!
Oh, wow, I didn’t know you MADE that window! It’s so pretty! 🙂 I’d love to learn to do stained glass but the friend who used to do it has arthritis too bad now and can’t teach me. I’ve started doing little fused glass pendants and stuff here and there though, so I’ve at least started playing with glass a little. 🙂
Fused glass is gorgeous, too. Do you have to use a kiln for that?
I have one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Fuseworks-FW848-Beginners-Fusing-Kit/dp/B001O5ULP4
Thanks to my parents (and the scheming of my sister).
Mom wants to get us an actual kiln though, because apparently you can’t use the special molds and such with the microwave ones. Here’s what I’ve made so far: https://www.flickr.com/photos/karylmc/sets/72157645672159344/ (excluding a piece or two I need to fix because they broke on me)
Karyl, that’s stunning! The microwave….who knew? *s* Now I’ll have to check that out, too.
It’s SO fun! Just have to keep yourself in check and not peek too early. LOL
I was just working on a blog about reinventing ourselves. Guess we’re on the same wavelength there. Beautiful artwork!
I present workshops on The Reinvented Writer. *s* This is just a new chapter.
Congrats on getting cut! :-> I was cut from safety this year too, and glad for it. Your mosaics are reminding me to take a break from flailing around trying to sprout those wings and get out those art projects I have hidden away in the garage ….
Every day I’m discovering this being “cut loose” was actually a very good thing! Yes, go get those art projects and dive in, see where it leads. *s* Thanks so much for the comments.
Amy, wow this struck a chord. I had no idea you’re a gifted artist as well. Have you thought of incorporating animal motifs? A bird bath with a kitty face is so subversive it would be newsworthy! All creatives need to reboot regularly to stay fresh while maintaining a sense of balance. I’m on hiatus from my non-cat blog and doing battle with burnout. Enjoy the rest of the summer 🙂
LOL! A cat-face bird bath, love that idea! I do have hummingbirds incorporated in the indoor table top.
Burnout is a big risk with freelance creatives. Been there…revisit it often…and hope you’re soon refreshed and ready for the “next step” whatever that may be.
That is such a heartfelt post. I made a complete life overhaul when I quit my job to pursue my writing. It is scary and certainly doesn’t pay as well, but it is my passion and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Every cut or scar shows not what you’ve endured, but what you’ve survived!
Oh yes, it’s like jumping off a cliff without a parachute or net…and praying your wings will sprout before you splat on the ground. The secret is…you don’t have to have wings to soar. And as Jim Carey recently said in a most awesome graduation address, you can always fail at something safe, too. So why not jump off the cliff and discover your gifts truly elevate you higher that you could ever imagine?
Well stated! See? You did some solid writing after all! I sometimes think that we should list ourselves as “reinventors” on the occupation listing on our federal tax forms. After all, we survive, heck, thrive, by reinventing ourselves as writers, communicators and pet advocates.
Think about what was your biggest priority a decade ago and how that weighs in your life today. I’m betting not much.
Keep moving forward, Amy! Yes, you will bruise a bit and even bleed, but you will continue to shine inside and out. I am proud of you and blessed by your friendship. Paws up! Arden
Hey there Arden–fellow traveler on this bumpy writer-icity road. You’re right about taking a look at the way-back machine and today’s goals do matter so much more. We have to be much more nimble, and stretching to reach an ever-moving brass ring entices us to take the chance that could be the best thing EVAH!
Best of luck with the new direction in your life.
Your art is beautiful. I once did a mosaic project (8th grade) and have always wanted to do more. In fact I keep broken dishes for that reason. Someday!
Thanks so much Debra. It’s not so much as a “new” direction as a “newly focused” direction, LOL!
Broken dishes work so well in garden mosaic art! You should go for it–and it’s also therapeutic. Breaking dishes (you know, in case they aren’t the right size pieces) can be enormously satisfying. *eg*
Amy, I’ve been “cut” before and it’s a free-fall kind of feeling for at least a few hours, or a few days. Kudos to you for picking yourself up and taking care of yourself.
I was wondering where you were finding all your energy… Now that I’ve seen your dining room and all those gorgeous pieces of artwork, I have a much clearer picture. 🙂
Thanks Jenny. I probably take the “art” stuff for granted, since I grew up with an artist/musician dad, and a quilter mom, photographer/musician/writer brothers. But the “artsy” stuff really does seem to bleed (there’s that word again!) across various disciplines. Creativity feeds creativity. Working with your hands, or voice (or athletes who “work” with their sport) feeds the other creative endeavors. Sometimes it takes a virtual slap upside the head for me to remember that!