Thursday, February 23, 2012

Enjoying the Season of Your Writing Life

It's easy to get hung up on being published, especially those first few years you want that magical check to come in the mail. But if you're like me, you may find that the check comes later than sooner and that when it comes, it's much smaller than you first envisioned.

Enjoying the season of your writing life is a bit like enjoying the seasons of the year, especially if you live in a state or country where the seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall, actually make a dramatic change.

I can almost not wait for spring, with its colors, smells and places to visit. Some days it's still cold, but at least in the spring I can get out and take care of my yard. I spend more time with friends during the spring because I'm not as worried about icy roads and cold conditions that would make me want to stay in doors. I spring clean my home and make room for new and beautiful things.

Photo by: born1945, courtesy of Flickr
Summer is a joy! At least until it gets real hot! But even then, I find myself frequenting lakes and swimming pools, even if I don't go swimming. I like the freedom that summer gives me, and I love watching people at the park and mountains. There's more than enough time for family, and the thought of spending a day reading under a tall, wide oak, is truly a dream come true.

Fall. The colors of fall are so beautiful! I love walking through leaves and hearing the crackle under my feet. I am still known to rake them and jump in them before cleaning them up and I find joy in the smells and tastes of autumn. I love Halloween! Our family dresses up every year and we go out to dinner together. Boy, it's worth it just for the looks that we get!

I enjoy winter indoors for the most part. I'm not a skier, even though I live in Utah, and spend much of my time getting books and other projects going that I don't seem to have as much time to focus on during the summer. We get a lot of snow here in Utah, and it's bitter at times, though not much so this year for some reason. I like curling up in from of our fireplace, putting on woolly socks and spending time watching old-fashioned movies.

In your writing life, you are also in a season. In spring, a writer is just getting started. In spring we write but it might not always be good; we take in the sights and colors of spring, but we may not always know how to record what we see. I like to call spring, the five senses, because, especially in spring, the five senses are as necessary to writing as breathing. We can tell about our neighbor, or we can show our neighbor in our writing  using the five senses.

Photo by: Stephen Edgar, Net Web, courtesy of Flickr
In summer, a writer is learning the ropes and they are ready to swing off that rope swing over the lake! They want to try their hand at everything, and in trying, they discover what they're really good at. They find their voice, and in finding their voice, they find themselves. A summer writer is ready to tackle writing in the genre(s) they have chosen. They are ready to take the hike, and swim in the vast, blue ocean.

Fall gets the intermediate writer anxious to learn more from others. They may have already started a writer's critique group, they may have already attended multiple writer's conferences, but in the fall they are ready to walk the walk and talk the talk of a writer. They call themselves a writer. They no longer write as a hobby, or because their lives are stressed out and they need a place to get these feelings out. They write because they know who and what they are.

In winter, a writer is seasoned with all he/she has learned through the other seasons. She takes her learning, her voice, her skill, and shares it with others who want to learn. She writes for herself and she writes for others. She may teach, she may give lectures on writing. She may even stay indoors for the entire season and complete her novel. A winter writer is far beyond giving up on her dream; she is her dream.

Do you see yourself in a season? I hope so. And I also hope that you won't be in too much of a hurry to get to the next season of your life. Enjoy the season you're in. Take into your soul what it has to teach you.

Then when you move forward, you'll be ready for it.



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