December 1 question – In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?
Six Reasons Why Writing Is Like Christmas
Writing a book, like Christmas, is a major event. One that takes planning and a lot of forethought if we’re going to produce a product that goes off without a hitch. Both writing and Christmas can equal amounts of stress and delight.
Reason #1 – the idea
It all begins with that first idea.
For writers, it begins with genre, theme, a character, a plot’s beginning or ending, or even a scene in the middle of the book. Sometimes it begins with a what if question.
For Christmas, it generally begins with what am I going to get everyone?
Reason #2 – the planning
For writers who are plotters, the idea becomes an outline. For writers who are pantsers, there is no planning; their idea takes form as the writing occurs, and if they’re lucky, they don’t go wandering down any primrose paths that force them to backtrack to where they got away from the story’s journey. (The Christmas equivalent of having to return a purchased gift and changing your mind about it.)
For Christmas, this is where the planners’ stress begins in thinking about where to find that perfect present. The equivalent of pantsers at Christmas are those who shop with no list or wait until Christmas Eve to start.
Reason #3 – the execution (doing)
For writers, enthusiasm for the initial idea takes the writer only so far. After that more planning or just gutting it out is required—getting through the dreaded sagging middle. This is where procrastination is heavy, where avoidance is practiced to an art.
For Christmas, this is where writers will turn, most happily, allowing that writing procrastination to continue by performing legitimate tasks of the masses because there’s a definitive deadline: shopping, backing, decorating, wrapping, and drinking lots of hot chocolate. (Did I just synopsize a Hallmark Christmas movie?)
Reason #4 – the gathering
For writers, the gathering occurs as characters come together and start driving the plot toward the story’s conclusion. They gather because of a crime, a dead body, a family celebration where long-time secrets are revealed, and other plots of conflict and stress. So many gatherings, so many activities.
For Christmas, the gathering of presents needing to be wrapped occurs, then the gathering of people’s schedules and arranging the details of trips to Granny’s house or to the beach for a family Christmas vacation.
Reason #5 – the waiting
For indie writers who have submitted the book, the wait for final acceptance of the uploaded file begins, and if accepted, then the wait to official publication—one to three days. For traditional writers, they’ve submitted the book to their agent/publisher and are now awaiting the final yes of publication, which could be anywhere from a few weeks to over a year, depending on the publisher’s schedule.
For Christmas, kids can hardly wait for Santa to arrive. Parents, grandparents, other relatives, and friends are eager for the gathering of people, football games, and the way-more-than-we-needed food. And of course, some just can’t wait for the holiday to be over with, already.
Reason #6 – the big day
For writers, the big day is when that box filled with newly published copies of the book arrives, and it’s opened with excitement and joyous sounds of delight about how pretty it looks. All that hard work culminated into this tangible object that has the writer’s name stamped on the cover and spine.
For Christmas, it’s about the wrappings quickly ripped and shredded revealing the surprise inside to squeals of joy and delight. All followed by the smells and tastes of traditional meals and chatter around the table.
For me, when my high school best friend, Sharon, received her copy of my first indie-published book before I received mine, posting this picture online with obvious excitement, it was just like Christmas. A big day for both of us.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.