This week between Christmas and New Year’s is a potent time for figuring out what we’ve learned from the past year and preparing to move forward into the new one. Plans, ideas, challenges–what do we focus on for our creative goals, and how do we set priorities for seeing them through?
Writers need to be both artists and worker bees. We need vision and inspiration, and we also need good tools and work habits. For help with both, here are a couple of excellent websites:
Lisa Sonora Beam writes about Goal Setting for Creatives, with pictures of her own gorgeous planning journal for inspiration.
On Zen Habits, Leo Babauta has a terrific post about cultivating new habits. He also introduces his new site dedicated to helping with keeping those resolutions for the new year, called 6changes.
May you have a happy, inspired, and productive New Year!
The turn of the winter solstice is upon us—hallelujah! We’re reaching the farthest extreme of how short the days will grow, and how long the nights. The return of the sun begins, even with winter yet to endure.
It’s a season of grand celebration and then hunkering down. Not a bad pairing. I’m glad for the holiday lights that see us through these darkest days, but once they’re put away I welcome the most introspective time of the year.
As the world grows quiet, it allows the deep listening needed for creative work. Ideas and images have a chance to surface. The subtle stirrings of the imagination have room to take shape.
To prepare for those fertile days, it helps to consider what we’re listening for. What are we processing from the world around us? What is within us that seeks expression? What are we challenged to interpret? How will we act on what comes to our attention?
For the next few days, try to frame the question you want to ask about where your work is going. Then when things settle down after the holidays, listen for the answer.
One of the questions for me has been, “Where is the energy in my writing life, where is it leading me, and what form do I want to be working in?” Ok, that’s three questions. No matter.
What kinds of questions are you asking?
Here’s a picture of all of us at the book party on December 6. The cake that Mary made, decorated with the tree from our book cover, is in the center. Thanks to the many friends who celebrated with us and made it a great day!
Lynn, Mary, Jan, Gail, Pam, Susan, and Leatha
On December 6, we presented When The Bough Breaks to the public with a reading and a celebration at the Carnegie Center. I had forgotten in the midst of publishing, sewing, and marketing the book how wonderful the written work is. Each of us read five minutes and each of us made the work new again.
Words weigh more when read out loud. When reading silently to yourself from the page, you hear your own voice, your own incantations and prejudices. But when the author reads, you hear her intent, her emphases and pauses and, hence, her meanings, as her voice feels its way from word to word, stone to stone through rapids, over falls, along placid streams, into reflecting pools.
It felt as if I was hearing these poems and stories and essays for the first time. So, it seems, we begin again. I left that celebration brimming with good cheer. What a joy again to be part of this enterprise. What gladness at our individual and collaborative triumph. What gratitude for the reading public who appreciate this book, this venture, this claim.