Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

My wonderful wife is an artist, a goldsmith and a jeweler.  For the better part of the past twenty years we have been doing Arts and Craft Shows around our area as a part of our household income.  Between a sluggish economy over the past few years (which means fewer people spending less and less money at the shows) and the rise in the price of gold and silver, we decided at the end of last year to not do any shows in 2010. 

It's been a big change for us.  Our years haven't been divided by seasons so much as by the type of shows we've done.  Outdoor vs. Indoor; mild temperatures vs. extreme hot/cold/windy; nearby shows and the three-day out of town shows that traditionally ended our show year.  As well, our weeks weren't divided between frantically getting ready to do a show, doing the show, and recovering from doing a show.

This change has had its downsides: financially we've felt the lack of shows (not that we would have been making much at the shows this year anyway) and there's also been an imposed stalling out on my wife's ability to progress as an artist in her chosen media.

On the positive side, we were able to have a Thanksgiving Day at home this year -- the first time in over a decade and only the second time in about 17 years.  (Most of our Thanksgiving Days have been spent loading up the van, driving to the out of town show, setting up for hours and hours, then scrambling to find a restaurant that's still open.  Hence the reason why we ate Thanksgiving dinner at a Chinese buffet for several years.)

The other positive outcome of our year spent away from the shows has been my ability to spend the time and energy necessary to write.  In years past, I tried to write from December through March, but it was difficult to do so.  Between exhaustion from the shows and my natural inclination towards hibernation, those were never the best months to accomplish much.  This year, however, knowing there was no deadline by which I had to switch gears and start making bangles again, I was able to jump right in with a pair of characters that had been peculating in the back of my mind for a while. 

Now I have three finished stories in a MG series and have queried on the first one.  And, heck, I've even embraced the revision process and have started backing off from referring to my book as my "goofy story" and am seeing it as something worthy of slightly more serious consideration.

How has your year changed for you?  Any difference that have helped or hindered your writing?

-- Tom