Helga’s Post # 97: So said Benjamin Franklin, as if to remind us we have scant time left to get organized for Christmas. To make it worse, here at Canada’s west coast, we are battered by storms and daily rain warnings as if to punish late shoppers fighting their way through throngs of fellow shopping-procrastinators. An ugly scene at best in my part of the world as you can see, especially if you have to be out and about.
For those of us who have been better organized and shopped early, or better yet, let their fingers do the shopping with on-line orders and gift-certificates, or best yet, have resolved to forego gift-giving altogether and donate to charities in the name of family members depending on what matters most to them. So here is what I might do: My granddaughter loves dogs (as do I). Instead of buying her ‘stuff’, perhaps I will donate to the SPCA in her name. My son will find a thank-you letter and receipt for a donation to the Food Bank (he is a chef by profession). Just a thought. Of course, with a nod to tradition, there will still be a few ‘real’ gifts under the tree but it will send the message that Christmas is about giving, not getting.
One thing is for sure: I refuse to line up at the malls for those few ‘real’ gifts. Time is too precious. Rather, a click on Chapters’ website checkout button is so much easier and efficient. Books to be delivered directly to a recipient, gift-wrapped if I am in a generous mood.
And shopping from home frees up time for more meaningful projects. The gift of ‘time’ is one of the 10 gifts for writers if you followed Paula’s last post. Time is No. 7 on her list to be precise. For me, it’s Number One, hands down. No surprise there as anyone of a certain age can attest to, or when health issues suddenly put ‘time’ into sharper focus. For all these reasons lineups at busy cash registers are not on my pre-Christmas to-do list. Not this year. Not next year either if I can help it.
What IS on my to-do list however is writing. Not exactly a revelation given that I am a self-proclaimed writer. While the last few months have put a huge dent into my resolution for daily writing, I commit to pick it up again. It has been far too long since I actually wrote a chapter of my new novel. Here is the good news: I have done a lot of plot outlining and character development. Sadly, the result of all this work is not residing on my hard drive, but in the recesses of my brain.
So, the challenge for me is to retrieve my virtual manuscript from its cluttered storage and save it from vanishing into thin air. Meaning, get the darn thing on to my MacBook and stop messing about in my head.
Easier said than done. Time is only one ingredient to make real writing – the type you can share with other humans – happen. Frame of mind is another. Crawling out from under a dark cloud of fear when illness strikes a loved one leaves scant room for the mind to go elsewhere. But when a tiny patch of blue appears, voila, things start to look quite different – in a good sort of way.
While the last many weeks have yielded little opportunity for productive actual writing (not the brain-only kind), I feel the writer’s itch (sort of the opposite of writers’ block) starting to demand attention. A tiny voice to be sure, begging to be heard, but it’s stirring nonetheless. It started with – what else? – my main character and main secondary character. I feel as if I know them well by now, as if they are members of my inner circle of acquaintances. Not directly – some of their attributes are conveyed to me via third parties, but their shape becomes clearer by the day and week.
My objective over the holidays, which will be a quiet season this year, is to carve out some serious writing time. To try and make up for the rollercoaster non-productive time that kept me from doing what I love most. Having moved to a condo from a big house also frees time. Lots of it in fact. An added bonus is our vast view over the mighty Fraser River, which seems to have a positive impact on my writing. It feeds my imagination. As Silk reminds us in her last post, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview for life’s coming attractions.” — Albert Einstein.
Achievements since last post:
Books read: One (in progress). Will Ferguson’s excellent novel ‘419’. Entertaining, plus lots of ideas for my new novel.
Pages written: 0.5 (Opening paragraphs of opening scene)
Chapters planned (in head): at least 4
Early Christmas gift received: iPad Air 2 – an awesome gadget
Early home improvement gift: Nespresso machine. Best coffee ever (Starbucks eat your heart out)
Early best Christmas gift: Hope –at the minimum, guarded optimism
I am a writer of fiction. I have to believe that sometimes miracles do happen.