Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Turn, Turn, Turn

There’s gorgeous, fluffy snow covering everything this morning. The kids hurried through breakfast so they’d have time to play in it before walking to school. My husband (who actually enjoys shoveling, go figure) happily donned his trapper’s hat and set to work on the driveway.

I’m smiling as I write, and thinking, “Well, it’s about damn time.” It’s January 12, after all, and this is the first serious snow we’ve had (I live near Cleveland). It just feels wrong. When neighbors exclaimed on Christmas Day, “Isn’t this nice? It’s so warm!” I could barely hear them over the grinding of my teeth.

No. No, no, no. We go sledding over Christmas Break. That’s what we’re supposed to do. There’s a season for all these things that we do, and the weather is messing with it. I feel the urge to break into that song by The Byrds, but first let me explain that the restless feeling in our house brought on by the lack of snow has been matched these last few weeks by a restlessness in my writing closet.

I finished a novel in the fall, then immediately set about writing both an essay and a picture book that I’d been wanting to write for a long time. Those are done now, too. And though I have computer files of “ideas” and scraps of things, there’s nothing that has a big neon sign pointing to it that says “Do this next.”

I’m finding that there are seasons to book writing, and I’m back in the idea generation season, the time when I just let myself read widely and wildly, go places, explore and decide what I want to write my next book about (because I’ve decided, as challenging as it is, novel-writing is a challenge I want to keep pursuing).

It should be a marvelous season, one in which I wake up every day and realize how lucky I am, and I do, sort of…but…I’m really only happy when I’m actively writing.

So, I’m making a decision, right now as I type this, that there can be no black and white “seasons” to writing, or at least, the seasons have to overlap. The warm air may come in next week and melt all this snow, only to throw us back into some freaky ice storm the week after. And I’ve got to keep my writing seasons jumbled as well.

I need different projects all the time, in different stages. I may need to schedule time to read those novels I have stacked by the bed, books that will get me excited and generate new ideas. But I also need to schedule work on a new essay, to try my hand once again at short stories (it’s been awhile…), to dabble at whatever pops into my head, but to definitely have a goal, to put words on a page, every day. If I don’t, I’m afraid I’ll just give up and go sledding…

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