Down the Fox Hole: Writing For A Living

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Down the Fox Hole: Writing For A Living

I’ve fallen down a fox hole. I figure it’s a fox hole rather than a rabbit hole because one must be creative and alert down there, ready for anything.

Lately I’ve lost myself to work and working out. In between being a mom, my days are spent writing, painting and darting off to do some sort of sport: alpine skiing, running, Zumba classes and walking my dogs.

It dawned on me that my life has changed when I realized I seldom have socks on when I’m rushing about to fit in an errand. I pull on boots or shoes and run out the door. This is so unlike me. I was born fashionable. I enjoy expressing my personality through fashion. Suddenly though, it seems, I am too busy for fashion. Busy in a good way. There are not enough hours in the day for me to paint/write to my heart’s content, let alone pull on a pair of socks. For now, my wardrobe consists of putting on workout clothes because I’ll sit down to paint (illustrating a picture book at the moment) or write and then, unexpectedly, hours have vanished and it is time to go to the gym and I rush out the door. I’ve been so busy creating all day that I barely fit in the time to do the business side of everything that comes with trying to make a career out of creating (sigh, I must though).

My life has changed, with me unaware. Once I finished my masters degree (2012) and my youngest started school full time (2011) I decide that was it; it was time to devote myself full-time to my art (writing) and nothing would stand in my way (the job market is not kind to women who have taken a decade off to raise babies. I decided it was time to work for myself). Before that time, I dabbled in my writing and painting in between being a mom to three busy young girls and finishing up a masters degree. I dabbled hard—I managed to finish the drafts of two novels, three picture books and a junior fiction novel in that time—plus, many oil paintings. But it wasn’t enough. To move an art career forward requires one to be sockless. It’s been a few years of slogging away at all and any attempts to move my career up and onward. The decision to go forward, to put 200% into my work, with no plan B, is working for me because I enjoy the work, the challenges, and little by little I see progress.

My work is isolating for the most part, immersed in a world of creativity and imagination—hours spent alone with my work, no cubicles filled with other artists next to my own. That is the one thing I don’t like about creating—working without colleagues close by to stop and discuss ideas as they pop up. But to be honest, I’m too into my work to notice until the end of the week and then I think, dang! Where are all my co-workers to meet for a drink and a good chit-chat?

So, down the fox hole I will be for a while longer. Soon, things will change. I’ll have demands placed upon me to be out and about promoting my work and teaching a bit. So for now, I will cherish this time alone and sockless.

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