I must confess: I didn’t bake Christmas cookies this year. The thought of baking cookies didn’t even cross my mind. I was reading books on writing craft instead. So far the cookies haven’t been missed, thankfully the kids are happy with the cakes I bought. And I feel much better prepared to go on revising my draft now. But this doesn’t mean I’m done with studying and revising. It will take me probably the whole next year to revise my novel’s first draft into something I’ll be happy with.
Once I was part of an amateur theater group. At the start I knew nothing about acting. I kept my arms close to my tense body. I just wanted to say what I had to say as fast as possible and get out of stage. Then the director told me: “Breathe deeply. This is your moment, your space. Move your arms, take your time to say what you have to say. The spotlights are on you for a reason. This moment belongs to you. Make it count. Make it important.”
So the advice I would give every artist and also every writer would be this: Never give up, but never hurry up either. Good art takes time; be it an artistic performance or a novel. Time will unlock everything that has to be imagined in your story. Your plot, your characters, your setting has to be fully imagined so they can be described well enough to show the world of your mind clearly to your readers. Don’t summarize anything. Make it the magic, unforgettable moment under the spotlights. Breathe deeply and take your time. When on stage say your words loud with your whole self on them. The spotlights are on you for a reason.
In the meantime enjoy the process. Allow yourself time to enjoy the holidays even if your Christmas tree is a bit crooked. I also didn’t buy the perfect present for each adult this time, but at least the kids will have enough to unpack. Christmas is magical for them and it can be magical for us if we relax and allow it to be this way.
So I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Writing Year.