Changing Seasons

Writing is the strangest thing.

You start out feeling one way about your stories, about your characters, maybe even about your setting, and whether or not you actually like any of it, and something drives you to write it down. Then something happens: it evolves.

Characters grow and change, revealing things you didn’t know were there (though surely you must have, given you invented them). Settings expand, filling the landscape of your brain until you have their maps memorized, even if you’ve never visited. Plotlines twist, sometimes conforming to your outlines, sometimes not.

If you let them, they all grow. This whole writing process is incredibly organic.

I’ve found that writing tends to want wriggle-room. Like spreading roots or crawling vines, the creative seed must have room, or else it dies. I really started to think about it when it came time to shovel the walk today.

See, snow is everywhere. There’s a lot of it, and it’s heavy. Kind of wet. Fun enough, sure, but there’s a lot to handle. You can’t run in it, that’s for sure. What you can do is dig through it, shovel by shovel, until you’ve cleared a path.

This is writing. This is what writing involves. Hard work. Dedication. Labor.

But it isn’t all dull.

There’s beauty. There’s fun and snow-fights. There are snow-angels and icicles and the glint of sun on crystal smoothness.

The important thing is this: in order to make any progress, there is hard work.

I had a 32,000 word week this month. I had it not because of some wild inspiration, not because of a caffeine stint or too much candy. I did it because I decided to focus.

Focus isn’t always possible. There are things to do – garbage to clean out, laundry to finish, family to care for. A billion and one demands. However, let this stand as a motto for you:

You have no idea what you can accomplish when you really and truly try.

Let me put this in perspective. I have a learning disability. I’m slightly ADD, and I have dyscalculia as well. Concentrating is hard for me. Focusing on words, on specific spellings, on just one thing instead of fifty is hard.

But even I could churn out 32,000 words a week when I really, really, really tried.

It’s possible. Sure, I can’t do that absurd amount of words every week – but I can write every week. I can write every day.

Every day, I can make a difference.

So can you.

Just don’t be afraid to try.

[Video encouragement: Compare Your Life to Pixar. ]

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