Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Words Of Wisdom From 7th Grade Kathryn

My little sister recently finished 7th grade.  By some stroke of serendipity, she had many of the same teachers I did all those years ago.  I decided to dig up a few old projects for her to bring in and show her teachers including my 7th grade Language Arts writing journal.  (Boy, I'd forgotten we called it "Language Arts" back then!)  Of course, I couldn't resist reading through my middle grade musings and I stumbled upon this journal entry: If you could win any award, what would it be?  Did I choose a writing award or art award or even a Noble Peace Prize?  No, I chose this:
"I think that the best award I would want is a Relaxation Award.  This award would be given to me because I really like to relax and do this as much as possible.  Too many people are always busy and no one makes time to relax.  People who do relax and try to stay under control of everyday life should be recognized and awarded for keeping their sanity.  I definitely think this award is for me, especially because being 'lazy' would now be considered a good thing."
My desk is almost as bad as this.  Just ask my hubby.

If you know me, then you know this is both ironic and hilarious.  I am now one of the worst relaxers in the entire universe!  I think a lot of other aspiring writers feel this way, too.  We just don't have much of a choice.  Day jobs and "real world" responsibilities eat up a massive chunk of time, forcing our "free time" (or "me time") to become our only writing time.  Unfortunately, then you are constantly forced to make choices like:  should I watch one episode of "The Office" or lose out on 20 minutes of revising?  Finish writing this scene or get one more hour of sleep?  Take pathetically whimpering dog for a walk or keep to revision schedule?  The ultimate goal of someday, somehow reaching publication makes me choose writing 99.9% of the time, but it can be draining.  It's like those little mice say in Cinderella: "She goes around in circles til she's very very dizzy.  Still they holler, 'Keep a'busy Cinderelly!'" 
I'm currently finishing up a ginormous round of revisions and will soon be sending my baby bird out into the world.  And once it has left the nest, I'm going to make a better effort to follow 7th grade Kathryn's advice.  There's a hefty number of activities on my "Fun To Do" list including: a Netflix queue of dozens upon dozens of unwatched movies; learning to play my ocarina Zelda-style; reading one year's worth of SCBWI magazines; putting together the spice rack we got for our wedding three years ago; finishing a cross-stitch from High School; letting my artistic muse run wild on my barely-used graphic tablet; and completing a slew of videogames that date all the way back to Super Nintendo.  Plus, there's a ferrety little character running around in my head who wants to know how his story ends... 
7th grade Kathryn was one smart cookie.  I think she would be happy I'm following my dream, but sad I still haven't finished playing Donkey Kong 64.  Since I don't foresee quitting my day-job anytime in the near future, I will just have to re-balance my responsibilities and carve out time to do these things.  If I can find one hour a day to call my own (or even just a few hours per week!), I think I will be a very happy person.  Whether you're a writer or a Chihuahua breeder or a professional mime or the President of the United States, I think everyone agrees there are simply not enough hours in the day.  But if you had one extra hour all to yourself, what would you do with it?  And what would your 7th grade self say if he or she could see you now?


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post, because it is so completely true! I am also blessed with being Type A and I feel like I need a little 7th grade Kathryn to follow me around. Although trying to imagine you smaller than you already are is just about as hard as trying to find that extra hour. I also found some old items (journals to be specific) when we were unpacking items in our house and the old Jamie was just as uptight/stressed as my 25 year old self...but I'm working on it! While there will always be something remember with this current challenge there is a light at the end of the tunnel.I finally reached mine in March, as you know, and all the hard work was worth it. Keep writing!

  2. Hahaha I laughed so hard reading this! I relate soooo much. It is amazing how fast paced things can be today, especially being cursed as being Type A. My fiancé is the total opposite of me and it is amazing how much he makes fun of my need to constantly be doing something. Love the post.

  3. So true! As an aspiring writer myself, I think finding a balance between work, writing, and just living life is one of the biggest challenges. We could all use a little more time to relax. I think my 7th grade self would just be happy that I'm still writing.

  4. You're hilarious! What 7th grader says they'd want to win the "Relaxation Award"? Kathryn Powers...that's who! You were insightful back then, and we all should take the advice of 7th grade Kathryn. If I had one extra hour in the day, would I relax? Probably not. I'd write, because it's what I love to do. Same as you. The 7th grade Stacie wouldn't believe that. She'd want to know why I wasn't kissing Brad "fox" Harvey in a closet somewhere :)

  5. You guys crack me up! I'm seeing a pattern with all the Type A personalities--must be a "birds of a feather" thing. I'm starting to think the world would be a lot more interesting if we all had our 7th grade selves following us around. There would be a lot less errand running and way more slumber parties. :)

  6. i wish I would have had 7th grade kathryns advice a year ago... i didnt take that one hour a day for myself and ended up having a full blown meltdown last january!!! crazy how type A's stick together :) how could we be so perfect without each others companionship, right???

    um 7th grade ruth would say "just be happy you're out of those darn braces! and wear your retainer!!"

    I do try to get myself one hour a day (usually a workout) but I also try to get some reading in... hint hint still waiting for your book :)