No, I’m not Scrooge. I actually like the kindness and gentle spirit that is attached to the holiday season. I love to see the lit candles of Chanukah twinkle. I enjoy watching shelter children picking out presents for their parents while their parents choose toys for them at the Birmingham YWCA’s Santa’s Workshop or volunteering to help meet a family’s wishes through the Angel Tree or Temple’s Adopt A Family Program. My issue is that I don’t like to be banged over the head with this “spirit” only in November and December. I prefer the year ‘round approach.
I often wish I could apply my all year charitable approach to my writing. I envy the person who sits down and writes a set number of words a day. For me, trying to write is very similar to enjoying the holidays. I write in sprints – easily distracted by the music and lights of everyday living. When the writing is going well, I celebrate joyously and concentrate on the work. When my ideas aren’t fresh or exciting or I’ve received a rejection letter, I find it far easier to lounge in front of the television than my computer or to pick up pen and paper.
In the past, I’ve been a master of excuses as to why I’m not writing. Excuses like I need to be in the mood (compare this to the holiday spirit), my office is upstairs and I don’t feel like going up the steps, or I would write in a notebook but then I would have to transcribe my thoughts to a computer. Other excuses for the notebook could be a) if I leave it lying around the neighbor’s dog might eat my work, b) if I put the notebook down, I may forget where I put it, or c) if I close the notebook I may not find the page I wrote on again.
I really wonder what excuses others use and what is the motivation that helps one write consistently? My next blog will not appear until 2014. In anticipation of it and the New Year, I want to resolve to apply the year ‘round approach to my writing. It isn’t going to be easy. How do you do it? Will you help me or join me in this New Year’s resolution?
Whether we succeed or not, may 2014 be a happy, healthy and prosperous year for you and yours.
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Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Maze in Blue, a murder mystery set on the University of Michigan's campus in the 1970's. Her short story, "A Political Cornucopia" was the November Bethlehem Writers Roundtable featured story.