Sometimes inspiration is hard to come by for us as writers. Everyday living distracts and tires our imagination and focus. Why do you think there are so many memes and books written about writers getting on with the writing? We know that getting to the writing is the hardest part of the effort. (I see you smiling!)
Over my years of writing, the battle for time, quiet, inspiration, focus, and creativity have been challenged by the business of living. I’m quite certain that each of you can relate to one or more of the “interruptions” I named. Of course, there is always the ever-present procrastination problem. It’s probably the greatest enemy of every writer!
In a moment of contemplation recently, I struck on the idea that winter may be a gift-giver to writers everywhere. I am somewhat prejudiced about winter since my birthday falls in January. But putting that aside for argument’s sake, I do believe that Old Man Winter has gifts to give to every writer.
For those who may be aghast at the idea that a season filled with cold wind, icy roads, and snow-blocked driveways could possibly be a positive, allow me to elaborate with these five “gifts.”
Snow makes no noise as it falls from the sky in beautiful, soft flakes. Each flake is distinct, a scientific truth that is almost impossible to grasp. The gift of quiet brought by Winter gives pause for a writer to enjoy the time of separation from the daily noise of life. Whether you are trying to escape the happy din of children’s playful noise, the banter of teenage conversation or music, quiet can be a rare commodity. The quiet of winter, if one pauses to appreciate its existence, can help us release creativity.
Whether you are writing in a genre that emphasizes beauty for the reader or your writing has nothing to do with anything beautiful, winter’s gift of beauty brings our minds to a restful contemplation of that which is greater than ourselves. Winter’s beauty reminds us that there is simple beauty in our surroundings, and beauty opens our minds to a fullness that translates to our writing.
Now, you may wonder how patience could possibly be a winter gift, especially since patience can be tried regularly as we maneuver through the obstacles Winter throws our way, i.e. icy roads, driveways to shovel, coats, boots, gloves, and hats for survival of the cold. I offer this perspective to all of you – as we deal with those winter obstacles that try our patience, perhaps Winter is teaching us is that with patience instead of criticism of our procrastinating ways, we will get that manuscript completed.
4) Family Time
For most of us, winter is a time of holiday celebrations. And for most of us, we celebrate with family and friends. Now, if your family is anything like mine, family time is full of actions, incidents, personalities, and ironies that will fill your notebook with story ideas and anecdotes to keep you writing. In every family gathering there will inevitably be laughter, sharing of memories, wacky stories told with great enthusiasm and some level of exaggeration. Some of your family time moments may be your future Pulitzer!
Ahh, solitude is my favorite Winter gift. One thing that often describes writers is that we do like our solitude. Winter, with its blankets of snow and challenging travel, offers a writer the chance to stay in one’s writing space with no sense of guilt. The solitude I am grateful to accept from Winter brings me to a place of focus on how my words explain my message, the story I’m conveying to my readers. Solitude brings an opportunity, to clarify what am I trying to say and how best to say it. For we all know, as writers, that if our message is not conveyed we have spent enormous time writing for naught. So enjoy the solitude that Winter will gift you!
Stephanie is a freelance writer/editor and voice actor assisting writers and commercial clients in producing the very best in written and spoken communication. Her writing and editing experience spans fiction, nonfiction, promotional materials, and poetry. You can reach her through her company, Edit Perfect/Voice Perfect, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two of Stephanie’s most recent works are included in The Life Unexpected: An Anthology of Stories and Poems being published by Lucky Stars Publishing. The anthology is a collaboration of two Philadelphia-based writing groups, Women’s Writing Circle and JustWrite, and features fiction, memoir and poetry. The publication will be available in late November, just in time for the holidays.