Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Musings

On Friday, I talked about comparing ourselves to others, and in my case, falling short. This exploration on my part led to a very profound shift in me. I've been struggling with how to identify myself at this point in my life. I left a very successful career in public relations in 1999, just as I turned 50. The goal was to write full-time. For 10 years, I did. That's what it took to complete my memoir, although that includes a four-year stint to complete a college degree I'd begun in 1969.

Now, at 61, if I self-identify as a writer, I don't feel very good about myself because I don't meet society's expectations of success. So when I looked at other writers I've become acquainted with online and see all they are doing for their writing careers, I knew I wasn't cutting it. Not because I'm not good enough. But because I haven't been willing or able to do those necessary things.

My take-away from this self-exploration is that I do not see writing as a career. In 1999, when I quit my job, I did see it that way, however. Now, not so much. Writing is simply something I must do. It's the way I make sense of my life and my world. If my writing finds its way into the universe somehow, that will be wonderful. and I will figure out what I need to do around that issue when and if it happens.

But for now, I am simply going to keep writing...



Tabitha Bird said...

I think Karen that your beautiful words are already finding their way out into the universe :)

btw- would you be interested in doing a guest post on my blog? shoot me an email at tab[at]zaeya[dot]com. And we'll chat :))

Jody Hedlund said...

Karen, I think of you as a writer AND author! We can't let our comparisons to others define us. As I said in my post last week, I saw myself as a writer during the many years I didn't write, and it was because it was something I enjoyed doing, something I felt gifted at, and something that made me happy. Maybe I wasn't at a point where I could sell anything! But we don't need to be perfect. And honestly it doesn't have to be a career either. Not everyone wants or is destined for Olympic writing.

Mary said...

Karen, you write wonderful, inspiring things every day. They are both beautiful and helpful. You are a writer and an author in every sense of the word.
Published in the universe? Of course you're published in the universe -- every time you hit the post button.
Many people await your writing but sometimes you may forget that.
Keep on writing because you have to and you want to.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I've always written, always felt driven to write--the need to share what I've written has only come up in the last 7 years.

You're a writer and author, no matter what.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Not only are you a writer and an author, you are a wonderful person who so many others love. If that is not success, what is?

Cyndi said...

You are very successful in my eyes. Your writing touches all who read it. This blog included. A blog may not be a published book that people can purchase and hold in their hands, but it is still writing. And you have published a book. A very difficult book to write. You've mentioned that you are working on a fiction novel. Perhaps you are meant to write another non-fiction book instead?

Mason Canyon said...

You may be writing, just to write but you share so much with others. Your words touch and help. Even if you don't consider writing as a career, your words do give meaning, inspiration, and understanding to others.

Thoughts in Progress

Karen Walker said...

Well, I can't write right this minute because my tears are blinding me. Thank you all so much for these loving, kind words.

Joanne said...

The beautiful thing about writing, is that there are so many different ways to do it. You put your heart on the page with every blog post, and in my book, that's the best writing :)

KarenG said...

Wow I love this!! What a healthy outlook! Keep doing it and see what happens, what more can anyone do?

Helen Ginger said...

Since you quit a career to take up writing as your career and now you don't see writing as a career, are you thinking of what you want to do as a career? Or are you happy without a "career"?

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I definitely think of you as a writer, but I know what you mean. For years I considered writing a hobby and I had no idea that it would blossom into what it has. It's only in the last couple of years that I 'confess' to being a writer when asked what I do.

Francine said...


Came here by way of Blog Hop, and felt compelled to say: writing can be way of life (obsessive compulsive)but it doesn't have to be a career!

I fell out of the writing saddle a few years back due to riding accident and sort of trying to get back in, but it's not something I'm going to fret over if it doesn't happen. I won't stop writing!


Karen Walker said...

These comments are so helpful and so interesting. Thanks, everyone. And welcome, Francine. So nice to "meet" you.
Helen, to answer your question, the only reason I'm choosing not to see it as a career is because I'm not willing or able to do what I feel is necessary to make this a successful career, i.e. create a platform, blah blah blah. It's to trick myself into not getting down on me for what I'm not doing and focusing instead on what I am doing, which is writing. Does that make sense?

Glynis said...

Karen, you have a platform (blog), followers (platform), a book with your name on (platform). You are a writer, an author.

Relax, enjoy your writing and the career that runs silently alongside of it. :)