Welcome to Day Two of my 31 day blog-a-thon!
Last Friday I attended the 2013 Media Festival at Colorado State University. You can scroll down after you click that link and see I was also a conference panelist. During the sessions and the meals in between, I met many interesting and talented people. One thing many of us had in common is that we also work day-jobs. I met a travel journalist who writes TV news, ala Mary Richards. I met a political cartoonist who works in telecommunications. I met a filmmaker who works in media packaging and distribution. We are all the patrons of our own art.
I was pleased at the end of the day when my book Heart Warriors, won a Cammy Maximus award. I so surprised when my name was called I didn’t realize I had to go get my trophy – it’s an awesome trophy.
Now I have a bulldog from my alumni award at my high school last year and a Ram from CSU where I got my Master’s Degree. All I need is a Bear from UNC and an Aardvark from Aims Community college and my alumni zoo will be complete!
Seriously though, it is very nice to be recognized for my writing and non-profit contributions. I also have a beautiful heart that my friends at Hypoplastic Right Hearts gave me during our first medical conference.
I’m on the phone a lot for my “real” job. I’m a project/program manager, so my life is scope/schedule/resources. I work for a large company that treats me very well. I do like my job, but sometimes, when I’m in a five hour marathon of conference calls for my day job, I forget that I’m also a writer. It’s nice to have my UH Bulldog, my Cammy Ram, and my HRH Heart to remind me that I’m contributing beyond my desk. It’s not so much that I need awards as it is that I need reminders, milestones that I’m going somewhere with my writing and that the time I’ve spent on charity work was time well spent. Because I have to work for a living, I need reminders that I’m living a life that’s working. Yes I have my beautiful family and being a mother is very rewarding, but I wrote before I met Jim, before I got married, before I had kids and I plan to be writing when I’m a grandmother. I plan to write my own obituary when I’m old. Writing is a permanent thread in my life.
Beyond tangible trophies, whenever I feel really doubtful about my writing “career,” something good usually happens to bolster my resolve. I’ll receive an email from a stranger telling me that my book helped them through their pregnancy or their children’s surgeries. Today I was invited to speak at another event. I was asked to speak at the festival last week. I’ve earned respect for my writing work. That matters to me because, while writing is my art and my passion, writing is work. It’s very hard work to refine ideas and create cohesive writing that people will enjoy reading. It’s important to know that people are reading and enjoying what I write to keep me energized to do more work.
Last Friday, many of the speakers’ day jobs were in their art and they were successful as well. Yet, one of the most accomplished speakers seemed almost disappointed by success, as if the personal sacrifices might not justify the professional rewards. During the Q&A I was tempted to ask if that speaker was even happy, but I left it alone. I left that session feeling a bit sad. Yet, it was good for me to hear that hollow echo because even though I don’t make a living writing, I am so happy in my full life. I guess we call that balance.
Here are some links to cool work being done by my peers from the Media Festival: