Sunday, December 21, 2014

Finding it tough to write during the Holidays?

The celebrations for Hannaka and Christmas sure cause a wave of distraction in these otherwise calm solstice days as winter sets in.

If you find yourself restless, its likely because you don't have time to connect with your writing, or even your reading. While the holidays may inspire some good story ideas, the folks at Infinity Publishing shared some ideas on how to carve out time for your writing.

Paraphrasing from Infinity's 12-18-14 blog post...
... Especially set a space aside for yourself, where you can write when there is a little quiet time and write about what's going on around you during the holidays, or write character sketches you can return to later.

... Find your productive time, such as early morning, or after dinner, and relax with only your writing, so you can connect with it each day. Even a little time can inspire an idea for something that holds promise.

As an example, last week I picked up a 1989 novel and decided I would finally make time to delve into it. Much to my surprise, in a week I read all 510 pages, by spending some solid time with it each evening. It happens to be by one of my favorite travel writers, Paul Thoreau but this book, My Secret History, is a novel, not a travel narrative.

In it Thoreau discovers a path to the book he is trying to write on deadline, while distracted by a female companion on what should be a working trip. Naturally, he worried he was fooling around and not getting any work done. Once he got home, he set aside some quiet time to look through his notes and found what he needed was all there. Once engrossed in his notebooks, he was on his way, and ready to work on the book.

I suspect this is a autobiographical novel, since Theroux included much material about his travels and research for his books. We are witness to his thoughts on writers and writing toward the end of this massive, engaging story.

"I thought how travel was composed of moments like this: discoveries and reverences separated by great inconvenience. These encounters, taken together, added up to one's experiences of a place. ...the inconvenience had to be forgotten and replaced by the epiphany."

"One of the greatest thing writers did, I thought, was to isolate an event and light it with the imagination, to make people understand and remember; and not just events, but people and their passions. Forgetting was much worse than failure: it was an act of violence. For all writing aimed at defeating time. No one could become a writer-no one would even care about it-until he or she experienced the impartial cruelty of time passing."

So, before your holiday season passes, maybe you can find a quiet corner and enjoy writing for a while. The results may surprise you.

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