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Escaping the cycle of never-ending busyness

  • Name: Caroline Starr Rose
  • Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Occupation: Children’s author
  • Blog/site: Caroline Starr Rose

Tell us one way you are simplifying your life.

I made the seemingly crazy decision to stop teaching to pursue writing full-time without an agent or a contract. It felt way counter-cultural but was the best and right decision for me. Five years later, I have a wonderful agent, one book out and three more under contract. But even more than that, I have escaped the cycle of never-ending busyness. I won’t say I’ve got time management all figured out, but I have a much saner, healthier, kinder approach to my days.

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

What’s the background story —what compelled you to make this change?

As much as I loved it, it was overwhelmingly stressful to to mother, write, and teach. I didn’t feel I could sustain it all or give my best. Many people can pull this sort of thing off, and I applaud them. But I’m not wired that way.

Roses in Switzerland

What were the obstacles?

The decision sounded downright illogical. I had a great position at a school I loved and where my boys attended. The money was necessary. I had written for over eleven years with nothing other than a few published poems to show for it.

How has this simplified your life? Or, how does it help you to live simply?

My world has grown much smaller, but I’m deeply satisfied. My days start with my family, include the gym or a morning run and a walk with the dog. Then it’s time alone with my thoughts and the kids again in the afternoon.

Honestly, I still find things like keeping the household together stressful when I’m on deadline. But then I think of what it would be if I were also teaching…

John Green and May B.

What inspires you?

Quiet. Beauty. A good read. Nature. Courage. Kindness. Old friends.

Emily Freeman’s Chatting at the Sky is daily must read.

Children’s authors Katherine Paterson and Karen Cushman.

The lovely, lovely, lovely Jamie Martin.

Teacher/author Donalyn Miller (her Book Whisperer made me sob in a good way).

This interview with musician Adrienne Young on NPR. I heard it in 2004. It sustained my writing life for years.

Share a favorite quote, guiding motto, or perhaps your life’s purpose statement.

“Listen to your life; see it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” -Fredrick Buechner

How do you celebrate everyday successes, no matter how small or large?

Hmm. Not sure this is something I do regularly. Perhaps I should.

"Listen to your life; see it for the  fathomless mystery that it is.  In the boredom and pain of it  no less than in the  excitement and gladness:  touch, taste, smell your way  to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis,  all moments are key moments,  and life itself is grace." - Fredrick Buechner

Want to share your own story about simplifying life? Head here—and maybe we’ll feature it here on AoS. (Head here to read the first post in this series.)

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Kathrine’s flexible freedom discovery

Name: Kathrine Vigdel Location: Oslo, Norway Occupation: Publishing editor Blog/site: Skapt Tell us one way you are simplifying your life. Clearing my afternoon and evening schedule. I aim to have at least three free nights on work weeks, and at least Saturday or Sunday absolutely free from morning to evening. Not that I won’t be (read more…)

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