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  • Writer's pictureMaryna

The 7 Days of HoliYAY: DAY 5


Thanks for hosting me today Maryna!

Gif Sticker by ohdoodledo_pri

I’m so thrilled to be here and to be a part of #KidlitHoliYAY! I love the winter holidays, and I love giveaways, so this is the perfect place to be. Even though I love the holidays, I’m a terrible gift giver. I like to think of myself as a giving person, but for some reason I can never come up with good gift ideas during “official” giving times, like birthdays and Christmas. But this year, I’m totally ready, especially for the creative people in my life. And this week, that includes a lot of people as #KidlitHoliYAY continues in the kidlit community! This week, I’m giving away a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. It isn’t a children’s book, but it’s the perfect gift for writers.

In March I started on a writer’s high. I was visiting my parents for a week. I left my kids in the care of my husband and finally had time to write. Because of the time difference, I would wake up hours before anyone else, sit in the top bunk in my childhood room, and write. It’s funny how a change of scenery can inspire you. After runs around the familiar neighborhood, silent except for outdoor dogs barking at me, I would come back energized and full of ideas. I wrote poetry about sleeping houses. I wrote a counting book, a board book, and personal essays. I revised manuscripts and worked on my middle grade. I ran story ideas past my mom, who is a retired elementary school librarian. She was very indulgent- nudging me in the right direction or just saying, “I can’t wait to read it when you’re done.”

The day I flew back home to my family was the day when Covid really “hit”. Getting off the plane was like coming back through the wardrobe door into Narnia. Gone were the sunny days in the desert. Gone was my precious writing time. Gone were the words.

I spent the next month in a haze. I broke out into hives. I laid in bed for long hours past my usual early rising time with a pillow over my head to block light and sound. Sure, I still got up to help my kids go to “school”. I must have cooked dinner. I sewed a bunch of masks. I tried to avoid the news. That’s pretty much all I can remember.

Time went on, and life went on, and I’m so glad that it did. I started staring at my writing notebooks again, but it was like the writing was in a foreign language. One of my critique partners suggested that I read Big Magic. From the first chapter, I was hooked. “Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.” Elizabeth Gilbert goes on to talk about fear, curiosity, genius, and creativity. I loved how she invited fear along on her road trip with creativity. “There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way.” And I truly needed the reminder that creativity brings joy. Creativity doesn’t exist to make money or a career or a name. The reason why we’re creative is because it’s fun to make stuff.

So that’s what I did. I made stuff.

I threw myself into new challenges- drafting patterns for new pairs of overalls. Knitting mittens. Sewing a quilt. I took up running; partly because the gym was closed and partly because I needed a way to burn off all of the calories I was consuming in the desserts I baked. I co-hosted #KidlitZombieWeek, critiqued tons of stories, attended webinars, took a deep breath…

...and wrote.

When you come off of a writer’s high to a Covid-world induced writer’s low, you need Big Magic.

When you are the principal of the remote schooling experience for your 4 children, and your writing project weeps in the corner as you sadly neglect it, you need Big Magic.

When a dream agent asks for more work and then rejects said work, you need Big Magic.

When you submit the same story to your critique group for 3 months running but have only changed the title and nothing else because your story is perfect, you need Big Magic.

When your significant other watches reruns of the same show every night because it’s his/her way to cope, it’s time for an affair with your manuscript and Big Magic.

When your vacation is cancelled and the only something-new-in-your-life is trying the off-brand toilet paper left lonely on the shelves at the store, you need Big Magic.

When you look at your writer’s notebook and tell yourself that you’ll start writing when you come up with the perfect idea, you need Big Magic.

When an acquaintance on Twitter signs with an agent or gets a book deal and instead of being happy for them, you think, “that should have been me” you need Big Magic.

When your mind is a delicious haze of perfectly worded phrases, your gut is a ball of warm all-the-feelings goo, and words flow from your pen like a raft down a whitewater rapid, you have Big Magic.

But you need Big Magic.

For next time.

Gif Sticker by ohdoodledo_pri

I will be giving away a copy of Big Magic, sent from my local bookstore, Children’s Book World. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post, OR a comment on my pinned tweet @sarahheatcreate on Twitter. Giveaway will close at 8pm Eastern on Sunday, December 6. Winner will be chosen on Monday, December 7th and will be posted here and on Twitter. Sorry, contiguous US only. Good luck!

Here are all of the books/prizes this week:

Mon. 11/30 Maryna's blog: LET'S DANCE! by Valerie Bolling and Maine Diaz. Click here!

Tue. 12/1 Dedra's blog: THE LITTLE REINDEER by Nicola Killen. Click here!

Wed. 12/2 Sarah Meade's blog: SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN by June Sobel and Laura Huliska-Beith. Click here!

Thurs. 12/3 Nicole's blog: HAPPY LLAMAKKAH by Laura Gehl and Lydia Nichols. Click here!

Fri. 12.4 Sarah Heaton guest blogging on Maryna's blog: BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert. (Right here!)

Sat. 12/5 Ciara's blog: WILD SYMPHONY by Dan Brown & Susan Batori. Coming soon!

Sun. 12/6 Maryna's blog: 15-min. Q&A with Valerie Bolling OR a PB manuscript critique from her. Coming soon!

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