December 21: Shortest Day Alert! With TIME at a premium during the holidays, here are 6 things aspiring writers should hope to find under the tree:
Time: This is self-evident but worth repeating. Successful writers often smugly observe that “everyone is given the same 24 hours in a day.” While this is true, not everyone has the same amount of non-writing tasks jammed into that day. Breathe, plan, and claim the gift of your precious writing Time, even if it’s just 45 minutes while the kids finish their homework.
Support: Without love and backing by family and friends, it’s almost impossible to carve out a writing life from days already packed with obligations. Remember that you cannot receive the gift of Support unless you ASK. Which leads us to . . .
Courage: You have this gift within you right now. Believe in your right to write. Take ownership of your dreams. If a writing life is what you truly want, then seize your Courage and ask. Those who truly love you will support you.
Humor: New writers deal with a lot of rejection. Face those rejections with a smile or a laugh, and you’ll be better able to keep on rolling forward. (I find it’s helpful to imagine all those nay sayers drop-jawed and envious as I accept my latest award for a book they passed on.)
Vision: After rejections, criticism of our work is the toughest thing for writers to swallow. Bad reviews, editor’s notes, even well intentioned comments from writing group members can cut like a knife. The gift of Vision allows a writer to let go of ego or possessiveness and see the larger picture. Does your personal sense of humor translate to all segments of your target audience? Would the story be stronger without that flashback scene you lavished so much time on? Zooming out is tough, but vital to the eventual publishability of your manuscript.
Faith: This is the season of miracles. If you want a writing life, if your family gifts you with Support for this dream, then it can be yours. If your goal is eventual publication, there’s no denying that a long road lies ahead. Have Faith in your personal Vision for the story you want to tell. Have the Courage to ask for what you need, and the Humor to swallow the things you’d rather not receive. Most importantly, guard your Time jealously. Treasure every precious minute. Like the holidays, those minutes will be gone before you know it.
I am a writer and teacher of writing. After a lifetime of attempting to squeeze writing into my busy life as wife, mother, Scout leader, teacher, and far too many additional hats to list here, I have achieved my dream of being published and becoming a 'real writer'. How did I find the time? In this blog I'll share some of my strategies for having it all--and still getting dinner on the table by six.