A Creative Challenge

While stories and characters and ideas flow around in my mind all the time, catching them and committing them to paper and ink (or, rather, screen and pixel) can be a challenge these days. I’m learning how to make the use of minutes (or seconds!) instead of hours. Oh, how I used to be lazy with my time. I’d take hours to stare at the laptop screen in front of me while revising a manuscript and when my muse didn’t strike fast enough for my liking, I’d wander into Facebook land or idly browse Pinterest. You know, “for inspiration.”

Not anymore.

I think this can only improve my work since it must be so focused as a result, but it is certainly difficult to keep continuity of thought. I’m not sorry, though. In fact, I wouldn’t change a thing.

See, there’s a new little man taking up a lot of my time and attention these days (in fact, he’s the reason I haven’t blogged since September, as my last few months of pregnancy and then postpartum were difficult), and he’s worth every minute of this creative challenge. It has made me so much more appreciative of the struggle others face to balance their family and creative work. For me, writing is my passion, yes, but it is also something I hope to make my full-time job one day, and as my infant son takes most of my time and attention right now, I’m learning how to use my few minutes of downtime to write. I’m also blessed with a husband who cultivates my creative side, which makes things a little easier. Earlier this week he sent me out to a coffee shop with a pen and a notebook so I could have some uninterrupted time to work on plotting a new project I have under way while he watched our little one. I’m very excited about this story that wants to spill out, and I am so grateful for that hour. I made good use of every minute!

There are other moments I have free, of course. In fact, I’m currently blatantly disregarding the sage advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps” so I can write this blog post while he dozes in his swing. And then there are the times we go out for a walk and I push his stroller and hash out details of the new idea while circling the neighborhood.

I do fantasize of technology that would allow me to mentally write an entire scene while out on one of our walks, without resorting to awkwardly typing on my phone with one hand. Or looking like I’m talking to myself while my iPhone takes bad dictation through the hands-free microphone on my ear bud cord. I mean, I am talking to myself. But I’d rather not look like the crazy mom on the block.

The new project is set in the near future. Maybe I should just invent this technology in the story. It would be so satisfactory. Somebody should have it, even if it isn’t me in the present day.

But for now, excuse me … the baby stirs …


Words, Style, and Creativity

There are many things I love and live for in this life: God, family, friends, my dog, lattes, bookstores, indie music, vintage knick-knacks and ephemera, and handmade things top the list. But how do I define myself? First, I am a child of God. Then, I am a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, friend. Lastly, I am a creative.

Three overall loves have always defined me. In fact, I can’t even tell you when they found me—by influence of nature or nurture—or if I found them on my own first. These three loves are words, style, and curiosity, and together they form my version of creativity.


Words draw you in, create worlds, explore concepts, document events, and make you think. They surprise. They focus. They ignite. They inspire. I began exploring words early on, and I moved in swift succession from being read picture books and poetry by my parents to dictating (horribly amateurish) poetry to my mother, reading copious amounts of fiction, eventually writing novels of my own, journaling, and then even meeting and falling in love with my husband through the power of words through chats and emails.


Style is the arrangement of form and color and texture or “feeling” of things. It appeals to our senses. It could be an article of clothing, a feeling, a tableau, or a moment in time captured by the purest forms of nature. It just … is. My personal sense of style tends toward a heavy use of white space, splashes of life-breathing color, and a delight in the unexpected; I play with it to design things, create outfits, and arrange items in my home or décor at a party. I make things with it.


Curiosity searches for meaning and finds it in a dewdrop on a blade of grass or in the arches of a great cathedral. It devours information, digests it, and nourishes the body and soul with it. Curiosity creates a spark that only dies when a question has been answered in full. Curiosity is the child perpetually asking “why?” It is the scientist asking “how?” It is the explorer asking “where?” It is the internal clock asking “when?” It is the journalist asking “to what extent?” And like a kitten, it pounces, catching the answer and playing with it until the heart and mind are satisfied. I can’t imagine a life spent without curiosity. I’ve followed its whims my whole life. It has led me to new friends, hobbies, ideas, knowledge, and passions.

How do you define yourself?