Notes and News and Big Rocks

Well, hi. I have’t updated here in a long time. Sure, I’ve been posting on Mrs. Wojahn Reads this summer, but things have been pretty over quiet here.

And…I’m not sure it’s going to get any louder. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about priorities and what’s important to me. At our first staff meeting this year at the school where I work, we did an activity from Stephen R. Covey around rocks and pebbles and sand–how you can fit them all in the jar if you put in the big rocks first. And how this is how you need to organize your day and set your priorities. Make sure the important things go in your day first. The rest will fit around them. Anyway, this pebble talk happened to coincide with some thinking I was already doing about my writing (and life).

You see, the writing was nearly nonexistent this last year. I was promoting a book, working full time, and we were moving and selling our house. There was no time to write most days, and on the others, I was so exhausted and stressed out, my thoughts were stuck in quicksand. My days–both at home and at school–were filled with little pebbles and sand. I can’t tell you the number of times last year that I’d go to bed and whine to my husband, “I didn’t do one thing today that *I* wanted to do.”

Which made me frustrated and sad on top of being exhausted and stressed out.

But then summer came. And we were moved! And school was out! And it finally stopped raining!

I had made it.

And the knot that had been snarled in my chest started to untangle. I went to ALA in Chicago and met my agent and my publisher for the first time. Ate yummy food. Savored being in a room with 20,000 other book lovers.

Back at home, I spent hours sitting on my porch in the sun. I weeded gardens that I hadn’t planted and kind of liked it. I walked a lot. I taught a summer writing class with a friend of mine and was inspired by both her and the ten-year-olds.

And I read great books. Including some on writing and time management and sparking creativity. And guess what they said? Nothing that I didn’t already know, mind you, but sometimes you hear things just when you need to hear them. In different ways, they said you had to make writing and nurturing your creativity a priority and work the other stuff around it. Sound familiar?

So, I’ve been thinking: what ARE my big rocks for my writing life?

It’s not blogging, I’m afraid. It’s not tweeting or posting on Facebook. It’s not keeping up with industry news. Or reading the latest middle grade bestseller or answering email from readers. It’s not even doing school visits or networking with other writers. I enjoy a lot of those things, but my truly big rocks about my writing are: 1) creating new things, and 2) stretching myself. Those are what I love most about writing. Those are what I want the bulk of my writing time to be spent on. The rest I’ll sprinkle in around it.

Which brings me back to here. I cleverly didn’t call this page my “blog” when I set up this site. I knew I could never compete with all the amazing ones out there. But I did call it “Notes and News,” and that seems reasonable. I do occasionally have news to share, and I should be sharing it. After all, I have an obligation to help sell my books and, anyway, sharing is kind of the nature of news, right? So I’m thinking that I can manage a once-a-month post about news, with notes (like all the great books I read this summer!) added in.

I thought that would be part of this post–I do have some authorly, bookish news to share!–but this got way long, so I’m going to have to do that another day. I gave myself 30 minutes to compose this post, and I’m ten minutes over. It’s time to switch it off for now in order to make room for one of my personal big rocks: sleep.

It’s not pretty (literally and figuratively) when I don’t get enough.

So, I guess I will post again soon to get the updates and book love in!

Stay tuned and sleep tight.

2 Comments for “Notes and News and Big Rocks”

Lori Engel


Becky, Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. I have been going through the same “rock sorting” process. It is a challenge to look at it all and rank the priorities especially when your head and heart are at odds. I am glad you are trying to make for time for your writing. I know I sure enjoy the spoils of your craft. Best of luck and blessings! Lori


Thanks, Lori. It is tricky, juggling things. I should probably also add that I’m incredible fortunate and grateful to have these choices and opportunities in my life. :-)