Friday, May 19, 2023

Reflections of Life, Part 4 by Karen Wiesner

Reflections of Life, Part 4

by Karen S. Wiesner

In looking back over the course of my life as an author who's looking forward to becoming an artist in retirement, I've learned to slow down and reflect on the past, savor the present, and look forward to the future. Interspersed through these ruminations, I'll include some of my own most apropos sketches.

In Part 3, I went over what brought about the strong sense that I needed to slow down as well as a few of the initial strategies I implemented in my struggle for balance in my life. After I decided a critique partner was crucial for me, ticks were made in my progress toward what I could accomplish in my remaining time writing. I was now able to return to my "To Be" list. I began to realize I needed to rename it my "To Be or Not To Be" projects. This time, I took off the list the books I didn't feel I had enough material to complete, nor did I believe I could brainstorm and bring about more, certainly not enough to bother undertaking them. Thus, the graveyard of books I was burying expanded. I grieved. I slowly and surely worked on my final two series to complete, one book at a time (for the most part anyway).

Oddly, in this process, I was also beginning to heal. I saw my editor/publisher and author relationship improving. Mutual compromise and finding a new way to accommodate my editor's suggestions, picking my battles with her, went far, but I also needed to humble myself in ways I never would have attempted in the past. I would have jumped ship and struck out anew instead.

Copyright Karen Wiesner
Karen Wiesner Sketch: Braided

The quality of my new work also surprised me. I began to feel my books were even stronger than they were in my heyday, though as I said, my editorial skills feel like they're in decline due to aging…or other reasons I'm not entirely sure I want to define.

At this point, just how very tired I'm becoming was brought home to me. All those years of balancing a hundred different projects at the same time over the course of a year had taken their toll. Inconceivable to me in the past, when I actually thought about what I would write on my death bed, I could now see a point in time when I would retire from writing…when I would do something else instead of writing. Even I'm stunned that all of this was actually cathartic for me. It needed to happen, and not just for my own well-being. I actually began to want it to happen, which wasn't something that "sat easy" with my family and friends, who seemed to see this as a kind of death sentence for me instead of the new life I viewed it as.

One last time, I went back over my "To Be or Not To Be" project list and buried a few more stories that I knew I didn't have it in me to finish. I had only two more series to finish, and even less requirements to resolve them, considering that a few of the titles in them both were cropped. As a concession to what could have been some great tales in their own right, I started incorporating some of the ideas from those lost stories into the remaining books in the series. 

Next week, I'll cover the progress I've made in restructuring my life to bring better balance.

Karen Wiesner is an award-winning, multi-genre author of over 150 titles and 16 series.

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