Summertime Ponderings and a New Direction

It’s finally summer in Wyoming. We still have some overcast days, like this one, but the garden is growing and the grass is green. In our house, summertime  is filled with mixed blessings. I love having more time to write, to putter around in the garden, and walk our dogs (a half-pharaoh hound/mutt and a greyhound rescue) without so much wind.

The downside of this season for me is that our boys will be traveling more with their mom and our daughter will be visiting her dad out in Las Vegas. Of course, there really isn’t a downside for the kids. They are all having a blast. It’s just that when I am lonesome for the kids, it takes a certain mind-set to see their time away as a period I can use to pursue writing, hobbies, and what everyone likes to call “me time.”

The boys will be around more in the summer, but she (my daughter) has been gone a little more than a week and won’t be back for several weeks. Since I will be missing her for a long time, I am trying to use my time wisely. I started out by tagging along with my husband to NYC last week. My mind is still swimming from all that I saw. Since I’ve been back, I’ve kept busy in the backyard and catching up on some summer reading. It is my goal to read a book a week.

Weeding and caring for the garden takes up a lot of my time, although I’m not sure I have much to show for it. I’m still not the master gardener my characters in my novels are, but I do get some things to grow.  I love looking out on the backyard and seeing green things. I’m a country girl from northeastern Oklahoma (where trees actually grow), so having a few trees and a garden in my backyard is a nice escape for me. I love Wyoming, but you know what Dorothy says.

When I’m not doing all those other things, I’m writing. For the past several months I’ve continued my writing, but have been laid back about it. As you know, I’ve kept in touch with you readers and friends on Facebook and as for publishing, I haven’t pursued any new contracts. I just wasn’t ready, although I have been working on two different books. On the most part I’ve purposely kept the pressure low.

I’ve learned everyone needs a break every now and then, especially when your job demands a creative mind. This period has really been wonderful for both my writing and my life. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it has been to connect with family and home. I’ve really been living a pretty domestic life lately and I’ve loved it. I’ve learned some things about myself during this period and I’m looking forward to drawing from those lessons as I move forward.

What have I learned? To name just a few I’ve realized that 1) I am not at my best if I write all day, 2) I miss my family when I overdo it, 3) They miss me, 4) The body needs exercise 5) I need  to experience nature and art on a more regular basis 6) It’s okay to take some time between books, and 7) I  need to stay true to myself when it comes to my writing.

So, my fiction goal for the summer is 1,000 words minimum and not more than two hours a day. I’ve noticed this change in my writing habit has produced much better results than in the past when I would sit for hours on end writing a book.  

And finally, these changes in my life have led to one of the biggest decisions of my career so far. I recently signed with literary agent Chip MacGregor at MacGregor Literary agency.  This is really a big step and I am honored Chip would represent me. He  represents some fantastic authors (including Lisa Samson and Susan Meissner) and has decades of experience and wisdom. I’m very excited about this new step in my writing career.

Since you probably don’t stop by my blog simply to see what is going on with Tina, I hope all of this somehow inspires you to look at your own writing routine or daily habits.  Maybe you might also benefit from a break or a new life direction. If you find yourself facing a need for change, welcome to the club. I wish you well.

Update! Just a note that since I wrote this post, summer is close to being over and I’m working on a writing schedule for freelance writing time. I define this differently than my fiction writing time because freelancing is an effort to bring in regular revenue. So far, it’s been challenging to balance this with life in general. Communicating my “office hours” to everyone else is probably the toughest part, but I think it’s going to work and that I will still take time to stop and smell the flowers. I just have to smell the flowers or I’m not happy. 🙂

-Tina

Tina Ann Forkner is the author of Ruby Among Us and Rose House, from Waterbrook Press/Random House

8 thoughts on “Summertime Ponderings and a New Direction

  1. Just a note that since I wrote the post, summer is close to being over and I’m working on a writing schedule for freelance writing time. I define this as different than my fiction writing time because freelancing is an effort to bring in regular revenue. So far, it’s been challenging to balance this with life in general, but I think it’s going to work and that I will still take time to stop and smell the flowers. I just have to smell the flowers or I’m not happy. 🙂

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  2. Congratulations on your new agent! I’m sure that was very nervewracking. 🙂

    And I hear you on the life direction and decisions about goals and life…I won’t be in a position with my kids to make any sort of “real” change for a while yet, but its always on my mind’s horizon and some day I’ll be able to really pursue my dreams. Keep doing what you think is best for you! What’s in your heart always seems to be the right answer. Love ya!

    ps…sorry we missed you when you were home! Busy summer for me!

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  3. You inspire me. Here I thought I was spending too much time in the garden. It does bring out some wonderful insights for stories.

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    1. You can never spend Too Much time in a garden, Rachel. You should read Digging In, by Robert Benson. That will inspire you.

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  4. Both of the boys are gone this week with extended family and my 2nd daughter left on Monday, after a week at training camp, for a month-long mission trip to India. So, I can understand not having the kids around and using the time wisely. =)

    Congrats on signing with Chip!!

    ~Mimi

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  5. Congratulations on signing Chip, I’ve heard such fantastic things about him on the web!! I’ve recently felt led to change my priorities and though it doesn’t led to much writing time I know this is a season for me. I’m a homeschool mom which requires more attention right now. Good for you for making the change you felt led and thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. Thank you, Patti. 🙂

      Julia: Good for you for thinking about what is best for you and for your family. We go through seasons and it’s okay. Others might put pressure on us to do otherwise and we might feel afraid to follow our hearts because of their comments, but they don’t have to live our lives. Write your heart out and I pray you find the time when you are ready, but that you can find the balance to suit your family life. Kids grow up too quickly as it is.

      Mimi: I forgot that you know how I feel when it comes to letting kids go. 😦 May we be enriched in other ways while they are gone. Happy Writing.

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