Mr. Holland and The Misfit Elf

How many of you were puzzled by the title of this post?  If you’ve heard of these two individuals, maybe you’re wondering what they have to do with each other. If you haven’t heard of them, here’s a brief rundown:

Mr. Holland is the infamous music teacher in the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus (played by Richard Dreyfus) who has this big dream of writing a symphony piece, only life gets in the way and he rarely has time to work on the piece. That’s all you need to know for my purposes, and by the way, if you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it!

The Misfit Elf is the elf from the classic Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer who doesn’t feel like he fits in with the other elves.  He’s not happy with the work and would rather be a dentist.

Lately I’ve been thinking how much in common I have with both of these characters. Like Mr. Holland, I’m frustrated by my lack of time and energy to write.  On the days I’m not at my part time accounting job, I should be at home writing away, but then there’s housework to catch up on, errands, volunteering, and of course – what every indie author deals with – marketing. Before I know it, the clock reads 9:30 pm and I’ve done no writing. I know much of the problem is my own lack of time management (see previous post), and I’ve vowed to work on managing my time better in the new year. But until I train myself properly, I will be nodding my head at the image of Mr. Holland pouring over his handwritten music, with a myriad of distractions around him.

As for the Misfit Elf, that’s easy…I am the misfit accountant. My co-workers/bosses may beg to differ but seriously, when one is entering checks into Quickbooks while listening to their book playlist and thinking up scenes, that’s not normal accountant behavior. Come to think of it, I haven’t been a normal accountant for years, if ever. I’ve always had scenes from my book playing in my head – after all, my story has been a part of my imagination since my pre-teen years. Admittedly there are many times throughout the day when I zone out while a full-on conversation happens between two characters in my mind. (Please don’t tell my boss).

My husband is always harping on me to “be content in my circumstances”, and I try to be. I’m grateful for the gift of writing and for the fact that I only work outside the home two days a week, except for tax season. And this job, which okay, I sometimes resent, has given us a steady income for over 18 years. It’s taught me how to do my own accounting and how to run my self-publishing business. It’s also allowed me to afford a quality editor and cover designer.

But, content or not, I can’t force the characters to go away while I’m at work.  It almost takes more effort to push them out of my mind than to just leave them there, chattering in the background. As long as it doesn’t affect the quality of my work, I need to accept that part of myself and realize that even if I’m a misfit in the accounting world, I do belong somewhere, and as I’m starting to surround myself with other romance authors, I know exactly where that is.

I won’t give details, but Mr. Holland is rewarded at the end of the movie as the culmination of all his efforts comes together in a very emotional conclusion.  I’m fortunate I don’t have to wait that long to see the results of my hard work; my first book is already out there.  But, like Mr. Holland, I will struggle along, carving out whatever precious time I have to keep writing future books.

I believe I’m in good company with Mr. Holland and the Misfit Elf. They’re legendary, just like I hope to be (at least in a few eyes)!

Thanks for reading  ~ Anne

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