Friday, March 20, 2009

SPRING! (And Doors and Windows)

Yesterday I spoke with someone in the book industry whose job has been affected by the economy. So she's taking her carefully honed (and considerable) skills and approaching new fields. Ideally, hard times do that - bring out the creativity in us. And the determination.

This is a perfect time for all of us - writers, artisans, plumbers, and preachers - to look for new opportunities. How can we utilize the skills we've honed to create a new view of our lives and the condition of our world?

Remember The Sound of Music? The mother of the Abbey tells Maria - "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." It's one of those statements that has stayed with me after all these years. And I admit, I do sort of live by it.

I count on new opportunities when old ones die. I anticipate that bad things lead to good. And I assume that God is the one who is closing doors and opening windows for me.

I heard a program on NPR in which they said that Americans are looking at work in a new way. We can no longer expect easy benefits. The competition is stiff. The pressure is on to be better. It seems to me that if this recession brings out a new work ethic, then that's a good thing!

As a writer, I feel the competition. I tend to be stuck in history while others are writing edgy contemporary fiction. And of course, some are putting a totally unexpected spin on an old familiar tale! (Sure wish I could think like that!)

What if I can't compete with all that edgy ingenuity?

That nagging question forces me to think more broadly. To dig more deeply. To search for just the right voice for my character-in-progress. And to explore new formats for presenting my story.

One popular bit of writing advice is to put a character into a situation that we don't know how to get them out of. That's scary! But it works. Somehow it brings out the problem solver within the writer.

That's where the US is today. That's where our world is too because - as bad as our economy is here in the US - it's worse elsewhere! We're in a jam. Doors are closing.

But windows are opening.

As of today, it's SPRING!. And spring means hope! Good things are coming. We might have to work harder. We may have a dilemma we don't know how to resolve. But just outside our window is a whole new view.


  1. Thanks for sharing a very encouraging and positive outlook!

    Your post covers some of what I heard on Friday at a women's forum: Bring your best to the table, network within your field, and have back-up plan in a different field. The speaker had went as far with her backup plan as to print business cards and hand a couple out. Her theory is that we need to plan for the unexpected today and not wait until it happens.

    All good idea's in today's economy! Thanks again!

  2. When we came home from the Highlight workshop, I immediately felt lost. I felt like what I'm thinking about doing will never happen--become a speaker to supplement my writing and illustration. Weird that you've posted this. I immediately laid some ground work for other things too. Maybe I was chickening out. But I put out a feeler to my university where I know they hire graduates with English, writing, education degrees to read graduate papers for content, flow, grammar...I got the gig! A window, I'd say. Now, when things are a little slow for me, I can pick up dome of that work too.

  3. Nathan, Congrats on the gig!! Awesome! A window opened.

    I think feeling lost after a great conference is a common experience. There is a letdown after all the adrenalin.

    And you WILL be able to do the speaking thing. It takes awhile but it grows! More windows!