Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snowy Days and Writing

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

Today, my kids had their 80th snow day off from school this year.  OK, you got me--not really 80, but it sure does feel like it.  Winters in Rhode Island seem to alternate between mild and absolutely freezing including lots of snow, ice and gray, drab days.  This is one of those snowy years for us, although, I'm sure the folks who live in places like Minnesota and upstate New York would laugh out loud if they saw the actual snowfall we get in comparison to their average winters. But for folks here, particularly mothers like myself who have to change their well-laid plans on the turn of a stormy dime, this winter is really taking it's toll.

I had such wonderful intentions for my Wednesday before Mother Nature and Old Man Winter (probably Jack Frost too!) decided they would interrupt my plans and instead I ended up spending the day home with 7 of my 8 kids and their hungry appetites that always accompany  a snow storm.

After making 6 dozen sugar and chocolate chip cookies, serving up at least 8 mugs of hot cocoa, drying off the two dogs a handful of times after they frolicked in the newly built snow forts with my kids, I decided I would take an hour to myself and get inspired with one of my books on writing.

I randomly approached my overflowing bookcase (a nice problem to have!) and grabbed one of my favorite books that practically jumped off the shelf at me--Walking on Alligators, a book of meditations for writers written by Susan Shaughnessy.

This really was the perfect book for me to peruse today because it was completely in sync with my needs--finding a little quiet time to read about my never ending passion to write.

Written over 20 years ago, it's one of the classics--a book that acts as a coach, an old friend, a mentor and always delivers some wit and wisdom and certainly a bit of much needed inspiration when I need it most.

My ritual for reading a book such is this is always the same--I open it to a random page and just start reading.  Today, it was no different and as always, I got just the 'write' fix when I opened to page 35.  Here is the meditation and writing prompt I pondered today.

Talent isn't enough.  In fact, too much talent can stunt good work.  We all remember the classmate whose casual excellence at a sport, a subject--maybe at life itself--presaged a life of stumbling.  This too-talented person never got the hang of holding on.

Discipline is a solitary.  Only you know what you'd rather be doing today.  Perhaps you yearn for a long walk, or a cozy quilt and a good book.  Perhaps you succumb to the "unwanted" interruption to a friend calling with a juicy story.

These treats have their time.  But their time is not the writing time.

The writing time is when your discipline meets your talent.

What awaits you in the refining fire of discipline?

PROMPT.....I'll defer my temptations today.  Today, I am curious about where my discipline may lead me.

Am I ever grateful for this unexpected snow day today.  I got to spend extra time with my family, enjoy some warm chocolate chip cookies, and get refocused and embrace one of the most challenging words in my vocabulary--discipline.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you feel talent is simply enough? 

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