Motherhood & Words

Happy New Year, friends. I hope you enjoyed the holidays.

Christmas for me was busy, as it always is, but it was full of good cheer and lots of family. Then over New Year’s we spent five days at my mom’s cabin in Northern Minnesota. It was cold up there, but sunny. Each day I clicked into my cross-country skis and headed out into the woods or onto to the lake, where I glided through the snow, accompanied by the swish of my skis and occasional calling of birds. I could have spent all day outside in that quiet cold.

Stella and Zoë skied with me a little, but they were more drawn to the ice rink that D cleared on the lake. Stella spent hours zipping around and around, practicing her hockey stops. I don’t venture onto the rink—it wouldn’t be pretty—but I love to watch the girls crisscrossing that patch of ice, their joy so palpable that you can almost see it steaming off their bundled figures.

Now that we’re back, I’m trying to settle into a rhythm of writing again. I haven’t written much at all this past year, and I feel a gaping hole in my life because of it. It’s odd that though I have one book out and another on its way into the world, I feel less like a writer than I have in many years. Not good. When I’m not writing, a coil of discontent begins to unwind into the rest of my life.

Clearly I need to make some changes.

That’s why I spent several hours cleaning my tiny pantry office yesterday. I uncovered piles, sorted and tossed. It was liberating. When I was done, I had filled three grocery bags with paper—drafts of the memoir, random teaching notes, old magazines. I shredded old receipts and filed away bills.

Now I can once again see the pale wood of my desk. The to-be-read and reviewed books are neatly stacked and lined up. The copies of Poets & Writers and The Writer’s Chronicle and Brain, Child are standing at attention, ready when I am.

I’m ready. Ready to put words down on the page, ready to feel like a writer again. Ready to take a deep breath and dive back into my novel.

What are you ready for?

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Jacqueline on January 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Yes!! I’m with you. I’m making it a priority to write two posts a week until I can do more 🙂 A clean desk and a new year are great motivators.

  2. Autumn on January 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm


    Happy New Year! I was so excited when I saw that you posted here on your blog! It’s so good to read your words. And I can’t wait to read more of your reflections and insights in 2013.

    Over the holidays, I’ve been free writing and journaling–not every day–but enough to keep me feeling sane! 🙂 I’m ready to tackle the bigger writing endeavors now that I’ve had some time to catch my breath and relax this month. I hope your vacation was just what you needed to get back into your writing. Your vacation to the cabin in the woods sounds ideal, by the way!

    Be well.

  3. Angie Mizzell on January 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    I could feel the relief as I imagined your uncluttered writing space. Me? I’m ready to rewrite my book. 🙂

  4. Carin on January 14, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Happy new year Kate! Isn’t it wonderful how decluttering frees up your mind as well as your space, and really gets your creative juices flowing?!

    • Kate on January 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      It certainly helps!! Happy New Year to you, Carin!

  5. Lisen Stromberg on January 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I’ve enjoyed your writing and passion for so long now. I thought you might want to know I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. Check it out:

    • Kate on February 4, 2013 at 7:40 am

      Lisen, thank you so much! I’m honored by your words and the nomination. I look forward to answering your questions and reading more of your writing!