Word of the (past) year: work/play

random unrelated photo from our holidays

I’ve got ten minutes to write this post. It’s 5:47 AM and I’m up because a) I’m planning to go to a yoga class and b) I couldn’t sleep because c) my mind was racing with everything that needs to get done today — the first day back to regular routine.

There won’t be time to blog today. So, why not get up early and blog, thought I, and eat an egg on toast, and write a note to a kid’s teacher re mixed up black Bog boots, and send an email to my husband, still sleeping, about tonight’s difficult-to-coordinate after-school soccer/supper/local food pick-up plan. Why not?

So I’m up. Egg eaten, note written, email plan sent, yoga bag packed.

Now to blog. It’s word-of-the-year time. Tonight I am meeting with two friends to talk about our words of last year, and words of the coming year. So I’d like to reflect (oh so briefly!) on my word of this year past. I cheated, slightly, and chose two: work and play. As the year unspooled, it seemed that work was the dominant word. I struggled to figure out where play fit, and I’m still not sure. I played soccer, which was new. And I tried to enjoy my work and find the joy/play in it. But maybe one word would have been enough.

I worked to repair an injury last winter.
I worked to promote The Juliet Stories.
I worked as a freelance writer.
I applied to midwifery school — hoping to do work of a different kind.

Working to repair an injury is not as much fun as working toward completing a triathlon. But it was necessary, and I am repaired, for now, and looking forward to more goals and races this coming year.

Working to promote my book was good. It really was. It was work, without a doubt, and it took energy, but by the end of the season I felt comfortable on stage, and had benefitted from connections made at the different festivals, and I think I was able to see myself as a writer in a tangible and public way. It was a good year for my work as a fiction writer.

Working as a freelance writer was, well, I’ll be frank, it was hard. I don’t have time to elaborate, but suffice it to say, that experiment encouraged me to make the leap to apply to midwifery school, after many years of considering the possibility. (That, and the fact that my youngest child will be in school full-time next fall.)

Writing fiction continues to be both work and play, for me. I am blessed to have found something that brings both elements together. I’m looking forward to working/playing today … after yoga, breakfast, kids off to school, and my quick morning nap. Can’t wait!

Swimming Studies, by Leanne Shapton
Word of the year, 2013


  1. Tudor Robins

    Hi Carrie and Happy Birthday, Happy New Year and good luck to you with your midwifery application. My midwives were the core of my baby-centred world for a little while. I would have hated to have my children without them.

    This post brings up a question for me re: your work promoting The Juliet Stories. I’d love to know what was worthwhile and what wasn’t. What was hard and what was easy. Maybe some hard things were worthwhile? Your perspective on how a Canadian author (who also has a family at home to look after) can best promote and support her own work would be golden…

    • Carrie Snyder

      Good question, Tudor, and another friend emailed wondering if I could elaborate on freelancing. Maybe there are some future blog posts in these questions, if I can summarize my experiences in a helpful way. Though my first line of advice would be: to thine own self be true! And: know your own boundaries.

      I’ll try to share more tangible tips soon.

    • Tudor Robins

      Thanks Carrie – and I agree. I took the Writers’ Union “Be Your Own Publicist” workshop and half the things they suggested had me saying “yes, yes, yes” while the other half made me think “not in a million years”. However, I bet those things could be reversed for somebody else.

      And freelancing – well, yes – not easy. I’m lucky to have stumbled into contract work that’s steady, predictable and (relatively) well-paying but when I used to work for magazines and newspapers and do corporate work it was tough – there’s as much work in getting the work as in actually doing it and you can be SWAMPED one month and then have no income the next…


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