Refrain Book Update: Creativity is about Consistency

Nothing challenges the consistency of my creativity more than a day job, and I’ve had plenty of those over the years. I’m back to work as a middle school literacy teacher so my days, once again, fill with lessons and meetings and drives across town. Gone are those summer sessions of writing until noon.

Then after a week full of time crunches, I receive a notification that my second full interior proof is ready for approval. Silly me. I thought the actual book would appear in the mail. After all, I did submit the changes. Now I know that I have to pour over the proof, once again, to make sure the changes I requested are correct.

While the PDF file opens, my heart skips like a flat stone across smooth water until I notice the title font. Then it sinks like a fat rock. The word “Refrain” is far too small. I’d requested the same font as the front cover and assumed the size would remain the same. I groan, When am I going to have the time to recheck this entire manuscript again? My goal seem so far away.

Then I remember my father’s words of wisdom, “It’s not either or but more or less.” Now that I’m back to work, I have to readjust my expectations as to how much I can accomplish. The trick is to maintain consistency and consistency means doing a little bit every day. So I decide to stack those obstacles and make a bridge I can walk across.

I also draw strength from a fellow writer’s tenacity to self-publish her memoir. In a recent blog post, “Self Publishing Update — The book cover is almost finished,” Christine Grote explains her memoir’s collage style: “Dancing in Heaven—a sister’s memoir is the story of the death and life of my disabled sister Annie. I tell it in a modified collage style. Several years ago when I was taking a fiction writing class we read a short story written as a collage and I fell in the love with the style. Nothing is chronological, but vignettes gradually add up to tell the whole story.”

I follow her progress because her perseverance inspires me to continue my own self-publishing journey. There is also something magical about her writing that captured my heart from the first post I read. She writes from a place of honesty that I find refreshing.

It’s Friday evening, and I feel like little Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings.” I imagine him out in the cold huddled under a threadbare blanket. He’s committed to his quest yet licks his lips while he remembers friends clanking mugs of frothy ale. “To life!” They toast while nestled in warm Hobbit pubs.

Then these fanciful thoughts infuse me with new resolve, I can do this! I whisper inside my head. Yes, I’m going to finish this new task so Refrain from the Identical: Insights and Inspiration for Creative Eclectics can become a book I hold in my hands.

*Since the writing of this post, Refrain from the Identical: Insights and Inspiration for Creative Eclectics has become a book I can hold in my hands. Read more about the finished product:

2 Replies to “Refrain Book Update: Creativity is about Consistency”

  1. Literacy teacher. Except for the naturally motivated college bound most of my 11th grade kids were 2-5 years behind in reading level. Now merit pay has been instituted. These kids will never grow intellectually because they see no intrinsic value in education and have given up. That means the teacher assigned these kids will be judged incompetent and fired.


  2. Carl, I experienced something interesting recently. One of my former students (who scored Far Below Basic on the State exam) just told me that his high school reading placement level was 11th grade. I said, “You didn’t even read the test last year, did you.”
    He laughed and said, “No I didn’t but I’ll try this year.”
    If there was merit pay in my district, I would be judged incompetent and fired.
    Thanks for your comment.


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