for writers my writing


May 16, 2017

Katharine Schellman - bookshelf display - motivation

There are a couple of challenges for writers on Instagram this month, #igwritersmay and #writelifemay. They are both challenges of the post-a-day list variety, and I’ve been mostly keeping up with them and enjoying looking at what other people are posting.

(I’ll admit these sorts of things are probably more difficult for those of us who care what our grid looks like. And no, I won’t apologize for caring about aesthetics on a photo-based platform, and anyway, Sara says I should).

Anyway, the point of the challenge is to share a bit about yourself as a writer and reader, to give others a peek behind the scenes, and to connect with other writers on the site. And surprisingly, it’s proving more thought-provoking that I expected.

A few days ago one of the prompts was “motivation.” And I shared that, while I am certainly motivated by the good books I read, I am almost more motivated by the bad ones.

Because when a writer reads a bad book, it’s pretty typical to think, “How on God’s green earth did this get published?” But recently I’ve ended up thinking, “This writer did something I haven’t done yet. This writer finished a book, pitched it, found an agent, got a publisher, and put their work out there in the world.” Yes, I can end up feeling jealous or offended. But mostly, I feel motivated. And it’s a nice feeling.

But there’s only so much you can share in an Instagram post before everyone stops reading. So here’s the other part of my motivation that I’ve been thinking about and wanting to share:

See that painting up there? My mother made it.

She started painting when she was about 50 years old, having not done any art since she took a sketching class in college.

She took classes. She studies. She practiced. And now she is a professional painter, making truly beautiful art every day.

And she didn’t start until she was middle aged. Gosh, how awesome is that?

I am so proud of her. And inspired by her. And incredibly motivated by her. Because every time I look at one of her paintings (and we have several, an apartment full of real art is a definite perk of having a painter in the family) I don’t worry about what I haven’t done already. I think about what I’m going to do next. And then I sit down and get to work.



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  • Reply Priscilla May 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Katharine, I found your website via a comment on erstwhiledear. What a lovely blog you have. The first thing that caught my attention on this post was your mother’s captivating painting above the bookshelf. She and I started painting at the same age (though in quite different styles). It sounds like you’re proud of your mother. I’m sure she’s just as proud of you.

    I’m enjoying reading through your archives, such thoughtful writing. Oh, and I also believe in small living, money responsibly spent, and the Oxford comma!

    • Reply Katharine May 25, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by Priscilla! I have so much admiration for painters like you and my mother — words and movement make sense to me, but I have no idea how to create visual art! The way your minds work is beautiful and mysterious to me. =)

      And I’m so glad to know another Oxford comma fan!

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