Wednesday, June 8, 2011
A Guest Post by Rebecca Kiel
Today we have joining us Rebecca Kiel.
Rebecca is a writer, blogger, former psychotherapist, and member of Chicago Writers Association.
Here she discusses how being "driven" has allowed her to achieve her creative and personal goals. Please welcome her. Enjoy!
Whenever we returned from a family roadtrip, as soon as the car was off, my dad would yell, "Run around the house!” My brother and I would clamber out of the car and set off running as hard and as fast as we could. We would fly around the house, chasing, racing, releasing any energy pent up from being trapped in the car.
There was only one problem: the bush.
At the front corner of the house grew an enormous dogwood bush as tall as the garage. To run around the house we'd have to run all the way around the bush. And running around the bush always slowed us down. One fateful day, while my parents worked in some other part of the yard, I decided to do something about that bush. I got the longest tool from the garage my nine year-old frame could manage, and began cutting. When I was done, I had made a spectacular tunnel.
This is how I've always been. Oh, there's a bush in your way? Trim it, make a tunnel! That century-old dresser full of clothes needs moving? Then take your 5 feet 3 inches and move that sucker! My husband teases me for my “driver” quality. My response in always the same: "I get things done."
It's true, this “driver” quality of mine has allowed me to write 85,000 words in a year and a half despite raising two young children, and relocating ten days before Christmas. I get things done.
While the wise saying goes, the only way out is through, I don't think this is always meant to be taken literally. Sometimes this driver part of me ends up in the maiming of fine greenery, or in me missing that it really is important for my son to show me the dirt he dug, or in me hurting myself (because I really have no business trying to move that antique dresser).
Stepping back or slowing down is a challenge for a tree-trimming-make-things-happen kind of gal who really wants this novel ready to send. As a writer, being a “driver” doesn’t always work.
Good writing takes time. It needs time to rise like a warm ball of bread dough. We all know there are times that our writing, to be its best, needs fresh eyes. It is difficult to look at something with fresh eyes if you’ve been staring at it every night for three hours.
The point is, there are times we need to walk away from our writing. Consider a moment of writer’s block or a stuck point in the plot a sign that it is time to do something different, even if for a couple hours. Step back and give yourselves the perspective that might save your manuscript from looking like it belongs on the grounds of Disneyland with my crescent-shaped dogwood.
So what to do about the desire to finish a book, build a writing career, or get on to the next project that is waiting in the gates like a thoroughbred? What do we do with the part of ourselves that doesn’t want to wait a week to review that query letter, but send it off and send it off now?
Visit her site at: