Last week I was talking about the ‘not so fun’ parts of writing. But that when it boils down to it, we keep at it because it’s something we feel we have to. And I came across an article from Timemagazine last year that drives that home. In it, they talk about studies that show that not only can writing help people deal with psychological stresses, but with physical ones as well!
And it got me thinking about what got me started writing in the first place. My first book was An Elk in the House, literally about the elk we had in our house, Butter. I’d never even thought about writing a book before this, but there was something about Butter’s impact on our lives, and the whole experience that made me realize, I have a story to tell.
In fact, most people have a story inside them waiting to come out. Sure, not every story is meant to be broadcast to millions. In fact, as the article points out, sometimes it’s not even meant to be told to another person. But the very act of telling your story, even if it’s only for an audience of one, can be life-changing.
The snow is a-flyin’ out here in Manning, and across the prairies of Canada. If you love to write, even just for yourself, there’s something about the season that just makes all want to stay indoors. There’s nothing like cozying up next to a warm fire with a fresh new notebook and a cup of tea as I watch the snow fill up your window pane.
And even better is the fact that the coming Christmas season brings with it so many sources of inspiration. The holidays, of course, bring families and friends together unlike any other time of the year. Often, brand new generations will be introduced to activities, stories, and even recipes for the first time. And as new families are created (be they blood, or otherwise), a great way to ensure that everyone’s traditions are kept alive is to write them down. You can collect them in a journal for yourself, or publish them in a book to share them with everyone in the family.
Plus November and December usually finds us and about more, attending events, gatherings, and just getting ready for the season—setting us up for all sorts of interactions and situations. They often say that true life is stranger than fiction, and I’m sure you’ll find that many of your family’s stories fit that bill! Don’t believe me? Have a read of some of these holiday stories from Reader’s Digest a few years back. I bet if you think about it, there are more than a few hilarious festive skeletons in your family’s closet as well!
I can personally attest to the therapeutic nature of writing. If you find yourself getting caught up in preparations for the season and need to unwind, try it out! And if it goes well, make it an annual tradition of your own to record and collect the stories of the season—you’ll end up with a wonderful gift to both yourself, and your family!
I’ve said before, I have a pretty amazing location in which to pursue my craft. I feel like I’ve got the ultimate ‘room of one’s own‘ for writing. But of course, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. For writers, probably the most important part is finding the time to actually write.
As I mentioned, I tend to write very late at night into the wee hours of the morning—not out of choice, but out of necessity. Just like everyone out there, everyday life just seems to get in the way. I’m a mom, a grandmother, and up until a short time ago, I was also taking care of my ailing mother. Not to mention the fact that I work full-time on our farm, which involves tending to seven acres. I have a garden to look after, and a couple of houses to clean and run. And then of course are those annoying tasks like laundry and cleaning that, much as we’d like to skip, have to be done.
Oh yes, and then there’s that whole ‘sleep’ thing that apparently we humans have to do.
So at the end of the day, it really doesn’t leave a tremendous amount of time to write. And sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like there’s no way forward. But at the end of the day, writers write. So if you’re truly driven to be a story-teller, then you’re going to have to make it work. Have a read of this blog entry by another female author with some really helpful tips on how to make that happen.
Instead of getting frustrated about not being able to find time to write, remember that you might have to make the time to write.