Welcome back to our new Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: December 24th, 2012 ]

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my readers! Unfortunately, there are many people who will not have the joyous holiday they imagined this year. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Despite the tragedy they are recovering from, I hope they are able to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas: faith, love and family. For those of us who are blessed to be in the company of all of our loved ones, please keep those who need your support in  your thoughts and prayers.

Too often, Christmas is associated with expensive gifts and frivolous spending, but Christmas should really be about love and family. This year, I challenge you to take a few moments to appreciate your blessings and to help those who are less fortunate. One of the easiest ways to do this is by spending a few minutes writing this holiday. You could write a poem, a letter, a short story, or even begin a chapter of the novel you’ve been putting off. Write about Christmas or your family, or use writing as a way to cope with the heartbreak that is saddening our country. Whatever you write, let it come from your heart.

Merry Christmas.

 

christmas

It’s hard to believe that the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings is rapidly approaching; and 2015 has seen no shortage of heartbreak.  Paris grieved after the Charlie Hebdo newspaper headquarters was attacked in January, then grieved again when terrorism revisited the city in November. A heatwave in India and an earthquake in Nepal killed thousands.  Over 59 million  people will close out the year having been forcibly displaced from their homes––and often, their countries. These are just a few of the stories which have occupied Western headlines this last year, and they barely begin to touch the devastation and sorrow many have faced and continue to face around the globe over this holiday season.  Now, more than ever, we must recognize that hope isn’t just a feeling but rather an action––a determination to enact positive change in a world wrapped round and riddled with trials large and small.  Now, more than ever, Jodee’s words ring true: “Christmas should really be about love and family.”

Luckily for us, we don’t enter into this world without the most powerful of weapons at our disposal: Story.  Consider this poem by Mumbai-based poet Sanober Khan:

Words
are powerful
forces of nature.

they are destruction.
they are nourishment.
they are flesh.
they are water.
they are flowers
and bone.

they burn. they cleanse
they erase. they etch.

they can either
leave you
feeling
homeless

or brimming
with home.

As Jodee pointed out, the act of writing is a radical one and can reshape our world into something a little more comprehendible, a little less sad.  A note from a friend has the power to make someone’s day, and every carefully crafted book or novella or poem or other piece carries the potential to change lives for the better. The holidays offer us an opportunity to step back and reframe the conversations of which we are a part, to revisit past hurts and transmute our grief and our hope into action.  There’s no better time to finish that book you’ve been writing for years, or to begin writing down those ideas which pop into your head in the middle of the night, or to reach out to a friend or neighbor or family member with a letter, an email, or a post to your blog. Holidays are a chance to heal, and to be healed. I hope you have the opportunity to heal, regroup, and emerge into 2016 with a clear head and a warm heart.

 

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

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