How can it be October? It was just January, wasn’t it?
It’s hard to believe two-thirds of this writing year is behind us, and that NaNoWriMo and the holidays are ahead. I don’t know about you, but writing between Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year has been almost non-existent for me in past years. Well, except for the Uncle Sam years where I had to write even when my mind was on Christmas carols and snow flakes.
This holiday season, then, will be a test of the writing work schedule I put in place for this year and to which I’ve done a good job of sticking. Holiday shopping, traveling, and all the seasonal drama, however, can overwhelm even the strictest schedule.
But writing, for me, has always been an escape. Difficult childhood? Write stories about horses and winning the Grand National Steeplechase–no, it was derivative, not plagiarism. Horrid high school experience? Write stories about revolution. Love college? Write a story that wins a prize and gets published in the college literary magazine. Sucky first job? Write an unpublished novel (and that’s a good thing) about a space-faring female explorer who’s in charge of her life. Have a life-changing relationship for twenty-plus years? Write him into a great main character then write a semi-biographical novel about what broke you up.
I think, no, I’m certain, that if I didn’t have that ability to arrange words in an interesting manner on a page, I’d probably have a rap sheet as long as I-95 because I would have put my fist in someone’s face–several someones and repeatedly. It was that kind of life, in other words, a fairly typical one. Reading books carried me through a lot and still does, but there’s nothing like sitting down before the computer and stepping into a world you’ve created or are in the process of creating. The real world falls away, and many times that’s good.
Of course, the shock upon re-entry to reality can be staggering but fodder for future fiction as well. That’s the writer’s burden, curse, and raison d’être. And we love it.
What’s your holiday writing plan? Will you back away until the new year, or will those family get-togethers provide fertile ground for story-telling?