‘TIS THE SEASON FOR R&R—AND A BIT OF CONSTRUCTION
If I actually believed in time-warp-science, the fact that the Christmas/Hanukkah Holiday season arrives so quickly each year would be a definite element of proof. And yet, I must accept the simple truth that I’ve already spent each day of the previous eleven months in 2017 and those hours did, indeed, flash past me at warp speed. It is now December 1st. Am I prepared for all the activities already written on my calendar? Maybe about half of them. However, as I look at that list, I’ve decided to do something a little different this year. I’ve blocked off two days each week this month for “me”—days that I will devote to doing nothing else but rekindle the writer’s passion within. I have big plans (and hopes) for completing at least one novel in 2018 and I don’t want to begin the New Year in a frazzled frame of mind and heart.
First on my December me/writing list is scaffold-building. What do I need (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually) to support the writing I’ll be doing in 2018?
- Have I discussed my writing plan with my family? Have I listened to their plans for the year—understanding what they’ll need from me? Do we have a plan in place to work out the unexpected family events (dramas) that will affect our family life?
- Do I need to retire my old computer (desktop or laptop) and get a new one? What time will be involved in learning the updated software? What about the old printer? Am I mentally ready to spend the time necessary to work with a support technician from the computer/printer company when “things” happen?
- Is my physical writing space too cluttered to allow me easy access to hardcopy research materials? Do I even know where I’ve stored the research? Are the windows clean so that I can see out and up into the sky—and imagine? If the lighting in the room is already perfect, do I have extra lightbulbs on hand to keep it that way?
- And, finally—because I’m a writer who prays over my work and the work I do for clients—I am constantly thanking God for His guidance and support of every manuscript I produce. A large prayer jar sits within reach. It contains bits of paper—prayers for HELP, appreciation for technical and research support, and thankfulness for His sweet Presence in the midst of challenging character developments.
Second on this list, is to refresh my skills by finding a quick-read, Back-To-The-Basics writing instruction book. I never want to get rusty or sloppy with what I write even though the process now seems imbedded in my fingertips. One method of doing this (in just a few days) is to select an elementary (or middle school) writing textbook and actually doing several of the lessons.
Author, Teresa Perry, published such a book in 2015: Writing That Works: Put All the Pieces Together. The opening line on the back cover states: “Guaranteed to improve your writing scores.” Yes, that is exactly what I hope to do! I’ll be reviewing the grammar and punctuation sections, and especially the sentence structure chapter. Quite often I find myself explaining to another author or client that a sentence they are particularly fond of isn’t structured to say what they want Readers to understand. Plus, the journal writing encouraged in this book will strengthen the “core standards” our future Readers will expect.
As I close today, I’m not sure many blog readers will even see this December blog until January or February. That’s okay. This IS the Season when family and friends “make time” for each other and writers are wise to take advantage of every such opportunity. However, the writing coach in me will make one more suggestion. “Take Notes.” A lot of wisdom is shared during these Holidays and one of the characters in your next novel may need to share it, too. THEN, step into January utilizing the suggestions given this month. ⚓︎