From Cheryl's Writing Crate
As I approach my 50th birthday (May will be here soon enough) I’ve found myself really studying my routines and habits. I’d like to think I’m a disciplined person who values taking care of my health, certainly my family and home, as well as someone who makes time to give back to areas in my community where I know I can make a small difference.
If you’ve never taken the time to stop and analyze how your hours and days are spent on a regular basis, I think you’ll find as I did that you might not be spending it the way you think you’re spending it. It can be a definite eye opener as well as a wonderful vehicle with which to get excited about making some positive changes.
For example, I learned that the majority of my “free” time has been spent mingling and such on social media sites. While I find my three favorite spots—facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to be invaluable resources as a writer and a cutting edge way to stay connected to friends and family I’ll be the first to admit I often get carried away and fritter too many of my precious hours per week away doing so. I also noticed I’m not half as rigid about keeping our home as tidy as in years past. (That’s actually a good thing—believe it or not, I used to be “one of those” people who organized her pantry and spice cabinet alphabetically!) I’m still spending the majority of my days caring for my family and working my day jobs, so not much has changed in that respect.
What this self-evaluation did provide me with was valuable insight as to where I’m missing the boat with my schedule and as always, for me, that’s creating more time to write. I’ve gone stretches where I write each and every day and when I do so, I notice that my craft is definitely benefiting because the words flow, my ideas make better sense, and I’m always in my “happy place” because of this daily routine.
And then—life happens. It might be a sick child, a work assignment that takes more time and energy than I anticipated, recently—a death in the family--and now the holidays are here! When these setbacks arrive, the first thing to go is my sacred writing time, and I have no real good explanation for why this is what I cut back on first.
What I do know is that I am thankful to always get back on track, usually within days or weeks, so with the holidays coming down the pike I’m going to remind myself of these three things when I feel like writing should be the thing I cut back on due to time constraints.
Here are three reasons I will make time to write daily during the holidays:
1. The Hustle and Bustle of the Holidays Provide Story Ideas
During the holidays, we spend more time around people than any other season. What better time is there to study people’s desires, histories, and actions? I’m going to take this busy time of year to ask people about their traditions and goals for the New Year. I’ll pay close attention to the details of their responses and embrace their passion and or concerns about this time of year. Being in tune to others during the holidays could definitely inspire dozens of new stories.
2. Holidays are Transformational.
Christmas and Chanukah are periods of liminality. Liminal space is called the space betwixt and between, which means that it is not normal time. It is special time, and most importantly, it is the period when all transformation occurs. I know I personally love to read about people who change, and during this holiday season, I’m going to embrace personal transformation as well as sincerely look for ways to write about how it affects myself and others.
3. Holidays Beckon us to pay Attention to Detail
On my way home from my morning walk today, I saw a deer eating from a fir tree beside my house. She was graceful and poised. I stood and stared at her for several minutes and then took a picture. She looked at me and then went back to eating. I didn’t intimidate her at all. It was as though we had a mutual understanding that we both have special places in this world and admired that about one another. I went inside for breakfast and smiled for minutes. The holidays are not about buying and exchanging gifts, they’re about counting our blessings and noticing the rich details that surround us every day. I’m looking forward to capturing these types of moments in my morning page journals and I’m even going to give poetry a try this holiday season, a form of writing I usually shy away from.
How will you let the holidays inspire your muse this year?