The greatest teacher, failure is.
Hello, wonderful friends!
I hope this newsletter finds you healthy, happy, and flowing gracefully with the change of seasons. Here in coastal Maine, it’s finally warming up, and everything is changing. The flowers are bloomin’, local businesses are getting ready to open for tourist season, and my hands are covered in dirt and calluses.
Here are some of the blossoms opening up in my yard:
Somehow, I let Beltane, Star Wars Day, and Cinco de Mayo pass without popping into your inbox to say hello!
And it’s not that I didn’t want to! With all the hustle to till garden beds, get plants in the ground, and resume work on our (completely DIY) home expansion project, I kinda just got tired. It’s like a part of me hasn’t completely shaken the sleepiness of winter. Can you relate?
Jason and I also got out first doses of the Pfizer vaccine last week.
We both had some arm pain and muscle soreness but otherwise felt okay. After hearing some other people’s vaccine stories, I cleared my calendar for the day of and day after, just in case.
I ended up using the free time to till garden beds by hand.
Yes, we have a tractor and a walk-behind tiller, but I wanted to use a shovel because the sweet, grandma-like nurse who administered my shot told me that exercise would help relieve the soreness. I’m not sure about that. The day after my vaccine, I had back pain that baffled me. I couldn’t figure out if it was from the vaccine or the manual labor.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind a lot recently:
Creating V Consuming
This topic has also been on my refrigerator recently since the words “create more than you consume” appeared on our magnetic whiteboard. It turns out, Jason wrote it there one day after reading an article about Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk or some other rich dude who was discussing the concept.
Oddly enough, I’ve been pondering a similar notion: balancing creativity with consumption. Jason and I talked about how various books we read as teenagers planted seeds in our minds about how creating — and not just consuming — was essential for a fulfilled life. And now, decades later, each of us has re-discovered its importance in our own ways.
My trigger for revisiting this idea came from an online course I’ve been taking on how to write a novel…
Because one of the things I’m currently creating is my first novel!
I’ve never written fiction before, so it’s a whole new world to me. I love reading fantasy novels and always have. Ever since I was a little kid, fiction has provided a much-needed escape from the stresses of reality.
So, I thought it was about time I write one or three myself!
The course I’m taking is by Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, and I highly recommend it! This isn’t an affiliate link; I’m just v impressed with her offerings and know some of you are writers yourselves. Her website is rich with helpful resources for fiction and nonfiction writers.
Creating anything just for the simple pleasure of doing it is a beautiful thing. Working through The Artist’s Way for a second time has helped me overcome the fear of messing up, doing it imperfectly, or just flat-out sucking at whatever it is I try to do.
As I learn how to use my writing skills in a completely unfamiliar way, I get to allow myself to be a newbie again.
As a Type-A overachiever, that’s not so easy. In fact, it’s damn challenging.
That’s why today’s quote by the Jedi Master Yoda is printed out and hanging on the wall in my writing studio.
Someone once told me that you're not taking enough risks if you’re not failing at anything.
Before I started working on this novel, I asked myself what has stopped me from writing it in the past? I mean, living in the country, traveling around the world, and writing novels has been my dream life for a long time. Why did I wait until now to fill in this piece of the puzzle?
I put all my fears and doubts down on paper. And then, I asked myself what I have to gain by NOT writing a novel.
I’m not going to share exactly what I wrote in either of these lists — because I feel like that’s the kind of content I should charge for — but examining my fears in writing was a crucial step in moving through them.
So, now that I’ve gone sufficiently off-track let’s get back to creating and consuming.
I’m writing a novel because I love reading them. But reading fiction, especially books similar to the type I want to write, is a VITAL part of my creative process. It’s not like creativity is superior to consumption. Both are important.
For example, one of the reasons you haven’t heard from me in a hot second is because my writer’s well ran dry. Between my novel and my main gig as a healthcare copywriter, I felt like I was creating much more than what I was consuming in this particular field.
The answer was to relax, read, and watch movies and TV. After a couple of days, I bounced right back.
Let’s talk about something other than writing because I’m starting to feel too vulnerable here.
Other examples are eating food and growing (or even cooking) food, listening to music and playing an instrument, or watching YouTube and creating your own channel. There are loads of ways you can create things and experiences you enjoy consuming.
Along the same theme: I’ve recently reduced the number of eggs I consume because a few of my silkies have been brooding. I did some fertility spellwork on Beltane — not because Jason and I are trying for kids, but because I’m hoping for some cute lil chicks!
I’ve cracked open a few fertilized eggs in the past weeks, so our old rooster, Terence, is clearly still doing his job. We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if any of these are going to hatch!
And in other random news, I got a new haircut, new glasses, and a new hydration pack, all featured here:
How do you balance creating with consuming? What do you think about my new glasses? Who’s your favorite Star Wars character? Reply to this email or leave a comment to share what’s on your mind. I want to know!
These posts may continue to be sporadic as Mother Earth demands more and more of my time.
I miss you and love you. Happy early Mother’s Day to all the mamas, the fur mamas, the plant mamas, the women who never wanna be mamas, and the women who wish they could be mamas. I see you and love you all.