We writers are an insecure lot. We worry every time we are invited to a book store or book fair to do a signing. You see, we fret that no one will show up and we will be stuck sitting next to a pile of our latest book answering questions like:
“You’re an author? What do you write?”
“Where’s the bathroom?”
“Can you tell me how to make this Nook work?”
I was at an author fair over the weekend held in my childhood home town of Rocky River, Ohio. It was a cold, damp day. (That is a good thing. If it had been sunny and warm everyone would have been outside enjoying the weather.) Instead they came in a steady stream. There were toddlers to golden-agers, all enjoying being able to talk to 40 authors and illustrators. We sat by our books and discussed where our ideas come from (life) and how long we’ve been writing (since fifth grade).
I especially enjoyed the little people who were sometimes afraid to talk, but loved flipping through my books. (A few even chose my book as their purchase for the day. I was truly honored.)
The other great component to an author fair day is having been able to meet other authors from the area. We sat and discussed the ups and downs of the writing business. We encouraged each other. We commiserated over patrons who would walk right past without a word, or a look in our direction, and laughed at our own insecurities.
The good thing is that signing events keep us humble. We sit and offer a small bit of our imagination and hope for a person who will read our words and relish the journey. When we connect with one reader all that unsettling insecurity is replaced with joy.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him. ~Romans 15:13
I am a fairly organized person. I was raised by an everything in its place mother. And if you came to my house you would say that I keep it looking ready for company. That being said, if you were to come into my office/craft space/guest rooms, you would wonder if the same person owned both. You see, my office looks like someone with ADD had a party. The whole space is like a collage of who I am.
Just to give you a visual picture: the efficiency kitchen counter is covered with beach glass in piles that are in the process of being sorted by color. I have stacked Pop-Up book ideas on the bed, the coffee table is buried beneath my Bible and my journal, the kitchenette table is hidden by notes, articles and how-to pages for the classes I teach on writing, and next to my desk are piles collected for writing projects that I have in the works. Right now those mounds would be a stack of pirate books, and rewrites, a heap of bug books and manuscripts, and a mountain of picture books that include math concepts.
My husband seldom ventures up to my office. He doesn’t like the piles of clutter. I know my mother would be appalled. But you see, she shouldn’t be, because I do have everything in its place, my office. It is my place to create art and to build stories. This space is solely mine. I think creative people need a place to let their creativity flow, unencumbered by the worry of piles.
So if you are an artist, or a writer, or a musician, find a place, or a space where you are free to express your thoughts and actions away from anyone else’s prying eyes or judgment of the loot you have collected to encourage the creative juices. And if you are thinking, “I don’t have a guest/craft/office space,” I just want you to know that my first office, back in 1985, was in my infant’s bedroom closet with a homemade desk and chair underneath her foo-foo dresses. And, yes, under the desk was a pile or more.