Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I just got back from hearing author Louise Penny talk at a local library, and I am officially out of my whiny funk.

LP had writer's block for years - whenever someone asked her how the book was going she cringed as she LIED and said 'fine.' ouch - I'm right there.

Luckily for me she shared some lessons learned:
1) add structure to your day - schedule writing time
2) set attainable goals - don't think about writing a book, think about writing 1,000 words or a page
I KNOW this, but I guess I needed to hear it AGAIN - just like Kili - step by step - pole pole
3) Don't let your critic do the writing - send her away

I can do this.

Oh, and the BEST part of the night? I WON a draw for one of her books !! I LOVE free books : )

Oh, and the EVEN BETTER part? She signed it specifically for me after hugging me when I confessed to suffering from a paralyzing fear of writing.
Here's what she wrote:
For Karen,
My sister in writing - one K a day - that's all. And send the critic out of the room!
Louise Penny


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Where is Julius when I need him?

One of the most rewarding parts of climbing and summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro was the necessity of single-minded focus. All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other. All the mental clutter - fear, fatigue, what if, maybe I..- had to be shut down completely. Step, breathe, step breathe - even though we moved slowly, we made progress camp by camp all the way to the top.

Ideally I'd be able to tell you that I stood at the summit feeling the enormity of what I'd accomplished and realizing a deep connection to Africa where we all trace our roots, and that I had a life-altering epiphany about achieving goals, prioritizing and realizing what's important in life.

Unfortunately, now that I've been back for two weeks, recovered from jet lag, laundry done and climbing equipment in storage, everything else is the same. I'm right back where I was when I left - working evenings and weekends and wondering if I'll ever collect the thousands of outstanding dollars clients owe me. Obviously I'm doing something wrong. Ideally I'd be able to say NO more often and spend more time working on my book. If people aren't going to pay me anyway, why do I even bother doing the work?

I wish Julius - my guide from Kili - was here. He showed the way, set the pace and every so often he'd stop, turn back and ask, "Sawa, Karen?" (ok?) I'd answer Ndio (yes) or hapana (no). Julius and E would help me fix anything that wasn't ndio so we could get back on track.

goal: finish that freaking book. steps: write, breathe

I'm on my own for this one.