We recently asked well-known children’s author Patrice Karst about her creative process and how she’s made her dreams come true.
Writing started early for me. English was always my favorite subject and reading always a lifelong pleasure. I remember the thrill of lying in bed as a girl for hours under the blankets with books that took me all over the world and beyond. When I was twelve years old, I wrote my first short story, by sixteen I wrote song lyrics and moody deep poetry expressing my teenage angst. And by age thirty, my journal-keeping obsession had already resulted in boxes full of filled journals chronicling my strange particular little journey on the strange wild plane we call home. I wrote in the beginning to try to make sense out of the seeming chaos that I was witnessing in my world. Then I kept writing for my life. Writing was just always my “artistic cocktail” of choice. That said, I never planned on writing a book let alone many of them!
Creativity for me is that sublime moment when muse meets my fingers on the keyboard or pen on paper. It is that moment when whatever it is that wants to be written – demands it to be so and takes over my hands. It helps at those moments to go along willingly rather than kicking and screaming.
I find that stories, books come and tell me that they want to be written and then simply tell me to start writing!
The natural merging of my spiritual path and my books has always been what keeps my message pure and seems to upon reflection always have the same theme. Love, oneness, unity, peace.
The Invisible String came through as I comforted my son when he was so sad at my leaving him at pre-school. I simply told him what was obvious to me that we were always connected by an Invisible String made out of love. This simple concept gave Eli a tangible understand of our connection and that we still had that connection despite time or distance. This sweet story brought him (and then all his friends who begged to hear it also) immense comfort and a realization that they would never ever ever have to feel alone. That the whole world was connected by Invisible Strings.
Each book has it’s own rhyme and reason and method of birth. I wish I was one of those disciplined professionals that sit at their desk and pound out page after page 3 hours a day 5 days a week. It just doesn’t work like that for me.
I can skip two years before another book and then be in a writing frenzy for months.
When all is said and done, I cannot not write what comes to me if it speaks to my heart strongly enough. I can write at those times till all hours of the night with no pain involved at all. Yet when I sit down and try to write on demand, it does not feel as organic at all, that is not to say that I can’t write well if I push myself enough. It’s just that- who wants to push- right?
So lazy little writer that I am, I continue to wait for projects to “knock me upside the head” before I sit down and do the deal- ah! but when I do, the rewards are so sweet.
The Smile that Went Around the World came again one morning many years ago when Eli and I came upon a group of homeless folk with a sign saying that they were hungry. Something happened that day and another book was given life.
The Single Mother’s Survival Guide was my gift to all my sister single moms to let them know that I had their back and I really knew what they were going through.
God Made Easy was born one November 11,1995 morning out of a dream where I awoke with the title (saw the words hovering in the air!). I wrote that book in one hour and sold it 3 weeks later and thus a published author, I became. Who knew? Sixteen years later I still ache for that feeling when a project starts bubbling up deep inside and demands to be written!
That really is what it is for me- the writing thing. I write what must be said. I write for love, I write for healing. I write to understand and I write to be understood. I write for my life.
Sometimes I am not sure if I write at all or if I am being written. Either way, I am blessed to do what I do. Whether my children’s books or my “grown up” stuff, my voice, my plea seems to always be the same and I can sum it up simply just like this.
Patrice Karst is the author of the internationally best selling books God Made Easy, The Single Mother’s Survival Guide and her children’s books, The Invisible String and The Smile that Went Around the World She has written for and been featured in various magazines including, Time, Woman’s Day, and Science of Mind among many others.