If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Distant glimmer of hope

It's just a little pinprick of light at this point, but I'll take it. I've been struggling with my writing all year. Longer than that, really. I thought, at first, that it was a discipline problem, that if I just sat down and got started that I'd get through it. My word count dropped. I lost my passion. Worse, I lost my plots.

I went over to Forward Motion, thinking that if anyone could tell me what I was doing wrong, or even if I was supposed to keep writing at all, I'd find them there. I got good answers and confirmation that I should be writing, but not *the* answer. Holly Lisle's offer to beta test her "Beating Writers Block" clinic has proven to be the answer, at least so far.

I've almost been afraid to blog about my progress. It's been so tenuous, almost fragile. I thought I'd lost it when I went out of town last weekend and didn't write for several days. Walter kept whispering ideas, but I didn't have time to get to them. I was concerned that he'd quit talking altogether again; he's cynical and distrustful, but how can you expect anything more from an introverted, hen-pecked Brit?

I signed up for NaNo last month, but I'm not going to make it this year. I probably won't come close; as of today, I'm a little over 8,000 words for the month. With less than two weeks left it's going to take a small miracle to pull it off. But I've been beating Walter up, pushing too hard, and when he stops having fun, everything goes to pot. To paraphrase a popular quote, if Walter ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. I had to realize that "lead, follow, or get out of the way" doesn't apply to him. I was trying to lead when he wanted me to follow and get out of the way! It's hard, it's frustrating, but Holly's podcasts assure me that things will improve.

So that's where we are--slowly emerging from the dark.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

'Tis the season. Again.

I started seeing Christmas decorations before Halloween. Now and again I'll hear Christmas music in a store, slipped into the mix of non-holiday tuneage. This morning I saw the first AFA Alert--what I like to call Grinch Alerts. It cracks me up how they get all fired up every time someone makes people take down their nativity or uses the word 'holiday' instead of 'Christmas'.

I used to do that, when I worked in retail. I was aware of the fact that not all people shopping during Advent were Christmas shopping, or that they were Christians. If someone was wearing a Star of David, I'd tell them Happy Hanukkah, and without fail they'd look shocked, laugh, and say thank you. Now that I don't work retail anymore, I use the word Christmas with abandon. I don't care if a Grinch overhears me. I also don't get fired up when people refuse to say it. They'll answer to the Maker the same as I will. Do I boycott all the stores on the AFA list? Occasionally, but usually by the time we get close to Advent, I've almost finished my Christmas shopping. I start in August or September with extended family so I can ship early. It's a habit I started when we couldn't afford to wait until December, and it continued through my retail years when I didn't have time to shop and ship after Thanksgiving. Now I find I enjoy the holidays more when I send them out early so I can concentrate on Eric and the kids.

I realize the AFA means well. Christmas in general is being edged out by political correctness, and someone has to keep reminding us. They're doing important work, but sometimes I think it works against them. People, even Christians, get annoyed by their veracity, and sometimes they're not taken seriously. There comes a point when you get into Chicken Little territory, and each year they edge a little closer.

For Bible believing Christians, Advent and Christmas are holy. For the rest of the world, it's an excuse to spend too much money, eat too many cookies, and pack their schedules with parties. For some, it's a season of being offended. I see that as counter-productive, but some people enjoy being ticked off.

I'd wish you a Merry Christmas, but I'd rather wait until after Thanksgiving.