I needed to take the prompt quite literally and took some time to ponder this topic. In doing so, I recognize that each season has had a different artistic or creative focus at its core.
There was the 'Art' season in which my main creative outlet was visual art. Drawing was my first love. Even as a small child, I loved to sit and draw and filled many sketchbooks. When I went on to University, I majored in Fine Art and even tried to 'make it' as an artist by doing commission work.
My artistic endeavours dwindled somewhat when I had small children. In fact, I traded my paints for a typewriter. Still, I wouldn't class these years as a truly writerly season since it was very much hit and miss. It took me sixteen years to write my first novel during that time! Most of my creative energy just went into parenting.
These years gradually melded with my 'homeschool season', when much of my creative energy went into teaching my own children. I was never much for using 'canned' curriculum, so mostly created my own for the nine years that I taught my kids at home. I loved planning units full of creative projects and even thought about writing them down for publication someday. That day never came, but I still managed to keep writing through all the busyness.
The next phase had more than one facet. I went back to teaching in the public school system at the same time that my husband and I started into ministry full time. 'Ministry' and 'teaching' could be their own separate seasons, but my main creative outlet during these years was 'Drama'. I began teaching Theatre Arts (along with Fine Art, English and some Social Studies), and my love for Theatre - from writing plays to producing and directing - really blossomed. This lasted for almost twenty years until I retired from teaching just a year ago. It was a huge amount of work to put on two major productions a year, but it is also the thing I miss most. There is nothing like the energy that flows on opening night and nothing like the sense of accomplishment - even euphoria - that accompanies it.
Which brings me to to the last 'past' phase before I move on to the present. I'll call it the 'break through' phase. It has been ten years since my first book was published. I had been writing, writing, writing all along, but it wasn't until mid way through the busyness of the last phase I mentioned that I started to look seriously into finding a publisher. Of course, I had no idea what that entailed and spend many years getting rejected over and over again. These were wonderful learning experiences, however, and finally someone wanted to take me on! Since then I have had multiple contracts with different publishers, had - and lost - an agent, and tried everything from vanity presses, to traditional publishers, to DIY publishing and starting my own publishing company.
But... even though I am still very involved in both writing and publishing, I sense a 'shift' into a new phase. When I decided to leave the public school system back in June of 2018, part of my motivation was to have more dedicated time to spend on writing. I had finally reached my dream of the 'full time writer' phase - or so I thought. To go back to Jesus' original question, “What do you want Me to do for you?” my current situation would have been my answer.
Yet, having more time hasn't translated into being more productive. In fact, it has been quite the opposite. Instead of finding the precious moments to write, as I used to do, I find myself doing other things because there is always tomorrow. As well, I am not as focused on marketing and trying to build my platform - another thing I thought would accelerate, not decelerate! Strangely, I feel quite content about this. For some reason, productivity and 'success' just aren't that important to me right now.
Perhaps God is helping me to relax. To be more focused on being content. To keep my eyes focused on the bigger picture called 'Eternity'. I am still very busy - make no mistake, and I still write, publish, teach (I work for an online school now) and I'm even involved in Drama again. (I'm spear heading a Passion Play in my community as well as teaching some Drama Camps for kids in a nearby city.)
But none of these are the central focus of this season. Instead, I feel God calling me to just 'be' and He'll take care of the rest.
Tracy Krauss, InScribe's current president, lives in northern BC.
-fiction the edge without crossing the line