Friday, December 20, 2013

The Darkest Day

The Darkest Day

Today, one day away from the solstice, we are nearing the shortest day of the year. In this time, when we seem to need every minute we can spare for sending packages, baking cookies, ending yearly reports and cramming as much of last years’ resolution word-count in as we can, less light is the last thing we need.

As writers, we have excellent excuses not to put our collective butts in the chair. The weather outside is frightful. We have the kids’ concerts to suffer enjoy, and holiday cards to paper cut our tongues on. Lights to put up with the relish of a Griswold. Baked goods to eat until we pass out from diabetic comas. These things won’t happen by themselves! What’s the big deal if I skip my daily writing for a few weeks?

Well, for one, it’s like skipping a few weeks of flossing. When you stop, it’s hard to get back into the habit. And as annoying as flossing is, or writing when you haven’t the time or inspiration for it, these things are good for us.

Writing is good for you.

In the interest of your mental health, I challenge you to find inspiration in the season and commit to ten minutes a day. Even if it’s the worst idea you’ve put to paper. Even if its not related to your current project. Sit back, look at the differences in your world, watch them. Study the earnest way a chickadee fluffs himself on bare branches. Listen to that particular crunch beneath your feet that only comes with a dry snow. Watch what miracles appear in the lowlight. Glory in all of those twinkling (and sometimes garish) lights. Find the poetry in the season that surrounds you.

Write about the best present you ever got. Write about the worst. Write about the suffocating feeling of your massive family. Or the quiet sadness that surrounds you when you realize it’s the first year your grandparents won’t be there to send cookies to. These moments, happy and crushing, are the good stuff that brings us closer through our writing.

Whether you’ve extinguished the eighth candle, or are just plugging in those lights to the sound of an electro-shocked cat, find a moment to memorialize. Relish the quiet time when the world rests around you and fill a page. It may be the best gift you give yourself.


Abbie Taylor said...

Thank you for the encouraging words to writers. I hope you have a lot to write about this holiday season.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Sarah Sullivan said...

Great post! I did not meet your goal, but having now read your post I am putting it into practice right away. It is so easy for me to find excuses not to write and yet, like flossing, I always feel better for doing so. Here's to great writing (or at least consistent writing in 2014!

Shirley Drew said...

Love your post, Sarah--you really captured the season--its joys and frustrations.

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