I’m reading through Your Blue Flame by Jennifer Fulwiler. I have been a huge fan of Fulwiler since her last book about writing while being a mom of 6–this book is basically her explanation of how she makes that awesomeness happen.
I like how the book holds your hand step by step, with the goal of helping you find your passion and pursue it. The first few chapters are about finding your “Blue Flame” – your thing, your passion. I was pretty sure mine was poetry but I also found myself adding research, reading, mentoring, and being outside. Writing all those down, I can see my passion as more of a quadrant of talents that can overlap in new ways to create new projects – right now, all I have time for is poetry, but one day maybe my love of research and poetry will turn into writing biographies of poets or maybe my love of mentoring and reading could turn into being a poetry editor – who knows? It’s exciting to feel that I’m not totally a one trick pony.
She then discusses Resistance – what is keeping you from Doing the Work. I have little resistance to writing poetry, but I face quite a bit of resistance when submitting my manuscript. Resistance is that ugly voice inside that says Don’t Even Try. Mine sounds like “no one is interested in what you write about / sending it is a waste of money / it will never get published” — so every time I do send out my manuscript, I’m pushing past those voices.
Tempo was another aspect of the book I found very interesting. She writes that everyone has a different Tempo to how they live their life – some like it Fast, some like it slow. For example, I have a friend who makes gorgeous cakes. If she was a fast tempo type of person, she might take that skill and open her own bakery (and go for her own brand and chain of stores and so on, sky’s the limit)— however, she is a more slow tempo type of lady, and really only wants to make these cakes for her family.
That isn’t a waste! I used to think of you have that amazing talent, go 100%, but you have to do what pace you actually like. Right now the pace that works for me is writing, submitting to magazines, and slowly working on manuscripts. At other times in my life, I enjoyed a quicker pace – teaching, editing, reviewing. I think your tempo is important to consider when evaluating your goals – my husband is a great singer song writer but has no desire to do gigs every night or travel to Nashville so for him he is happiest using that talent in a slower paced way.
I’m only halfway through the book so look for part 2 of my review soon!