The Writing Life: Signing a Creativity Contract
By Eleanor Parker Sapia
My novel ‘A Decent Woman’ turns a year old on February 20, 2016, and you best believe I will be celebrating with champagne, just as I did the evening my publisher emailed to say, “Your book is live on Amazon.” I drank the entire bottle–no wine glass–and yes, I was alone! That day ranks right up there as one of the most thrilling days of my life.
I am currently writing my second book and thinking back to my experiences on the road to publication. I am happy. Every setback, challenge, and joy, and each little miracle with my first book reminds me that choosing to live a creative life at age 50 was worth it all!
In looking back, I’ve come up with a writing contract for myself for 2016. I’d love to share it with you. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, I hope you’ll glean a little encouragement to live your life to the fullest and do what you love. If you don’t write, replace ‘writing’ with whatever you like to do, or simply think of the sentences as they pertain to life.
What I will do in 2016:
- Continue to tell stories that matter to me, with characters who do extraordinary things while leading simple lives during extraordinary times.
- Remind myself how blessed I am to do what I love when writing becomes difficult.
- Push myself to write every day. When I don’t think I can write another word, I will stand up from my writing chair and take a walk in nature. Or write a blog post. Call a good friend. Knit. And return to my writing chair.
- Connect with friends and family on Sundays, and take days off when I feel the need to rest my mind, body, and soul.
- Treat my writing (and marketing my books) as a job because it is.
- Remember that my writing life is my writing life.
- Learn more about developing my craft; read more, and keep writing to the best of my ability.
- Maintain writing excellence.
- Continue connecting with my readers, who are awesome. But limit Facebook time 🙂
- Encourage more fellow authors by buying their books and writing more reviews.
- Pay it forward with my fellow writers on social media, and continue offering them author interviews at my blog.
- Pat myself on the back for a job well done after a good writing session, and remember that it’s not life or death, even though it feels like it!
- Keep writing about what is deep in my heart; whether it’s popular or not.
- Silence my inner censor–I can write another good book.
- Pat myself on the back for a job well done after a ‘bad’ writing session–I showed up and put in the hours.
- Keep writing!
What I won’t do:
- Follow the literary trends of writing books in the popular genre of the month. I write what I’d like to read and hope my stories resonate with readers.
- Obsess about reviews, positive or negative (a tough one for me). My writer friend says that what readers say about my book is none of my business. We all filter information through our life experiences. The book is no longer mine.
- Push myself to the point of mental exhaustion. I can play with my animals, read, sit in the sun, or daydream for 30 minutes to refresh and regroup. Or take a nap.
- Compare my writing to other writers, whether they’re in my genre or not. I’m on my journey and path. They are on their journey and path.
- Become impatient with myself. The words will come.
- Sweat what I don’t know today. The journey is as important as reaching the goal.
What can you do as a good reader and fan of your favorite writers?
- Buy their books, books, books.
- Soon after finishing a book, write an honest review and post it on social media and on Amazon while it’s fresh in your mind. We truly appreciate your reviews.
- Interact with your favorite authors on social media. Writing is a lonely business.
- Keep reading! Who wants an empty Kindle or bookshelf?
What would you add to my creativity list? I’d love to hear from you!
Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker, and a refugee caseworker, inspire her stories.
‘A Decent Woman‘, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Book clubs across the United States continue to enjoy A Decent Woman. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society, and she is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.
Eleanor is a mother of two wonderful adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’, and a collection of short stories.