Friday, May 08, 2015

Country Living Is Golden

What I saw when I opened my eyes this morning. Glorious!
In the past six weeks, I've put out notices for two workshops -- a writing workshop and a compassion & creativity workshop co-hosted with Mary Purdy -- and only two people signed up for either of them. Those workshops were meant to be sources of income for me and for Mary as we strive to do what we love to do, in rural Nova Scotia.
It's definitely not easy to live a creative life in rural Nova Scotia. Or rather, it's the perfect place to do so. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
I'm luckier than Mary: The work I really love to do -- writing -- can be done anywhere. I have found enough ideas and interesting stories here in Cumberland County to keep me publishing in newspapers and magazines on a fairly regular basis (although not enough to support myself, which speaks more to me than it does to the availability of stories; I am a slow worker). If you rely on other people to actually support what you do -- people to attend workshops or concerts or visit your store or buy your art -- it can be a lot more challenging.
We don't have a large population in this sprawling county and those who live here tend to be older; while they might say to themselves, "I would love to have Mom and Dad's stories written down," it might not occur to them they could do it themselves and that my workshop would help them get started. (FYI: Starting is the hardest part of any project.)
We can't keep tapping the same people all the time; no matter how we mix it up, no matter that new ideas are spawned by each workshop, once they've taken a couple of my/our workshops, they've had enough. How do we reach other people in other markets? To put in the time making contacts in Halifax, a two-hour drive, or in Moncton, a 90-minute drive, takes money and time, takes us away from writing or creating or figuring out how on earth to stand out in the social media world where we are inundated with information.
Whenever I get twitchy about living in rural Nova Scotia, whenever I wonder if this will hold me back from reaching my goals, an ever-more pressing concern as my 45th birthday looms, I go for a walk. I open my eyes. I stop and hold my arms out and breathe.
I want to write and publish books and this is the perfect place to do it. For me, living in rural Nova Scotia has been a boon to my writing, not a hindrance. I wake up each morning and look out that window and feel grateful to have all this space in which to write. The other stuff -- the worry and the workshops -- are simply distractions. I know I am lucky; I can do what I love to do in rural Nova Scotia.

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