Wednesday, December 7, 2022

#ISWG: What I've Learned Lately + December Question

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

December Question: Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writing goals?

I do write more over the holidays usually because I’m a teacher, so those two weeks off are golden. But there are also a lot of family activities and events, so I often don’t get as much done as I’d like. So far, I haven’t been getting as much writing done this month, but Winter Break is coming.

Making Mistakes
from Bob Ross Incorporated

My husband recently asked me, “What if writers saw their mistakes as happy accidents?”
I’ve been also thinking of how I approach my other artistic pursuits. I crossed a huge hurdle with painting when I told myself, “I will make a mistake with this project. But that can be fixed (or made part of the painting).” What if we did that with writing? I’m doing that right now by writing in longhand first. It’s allowed me to treat this draft as a practice run, and that’s helped me deal with my perfectionist tendencies. 

Writing from the Heart


I'm currently reading A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life, which is amazing. I really liked Saunder’s commentary about Turgenev’s "Singers." This story is about a singing contest where a technically correct singer loses to the singer who sings imperfectly but with soul. Saunders talks about how this story gave him insight into his own writing. For a long time, he wanted to be a “classic” writer and write “important” stories. Then he caught his wife laughing at a funny poem he’d written. He realized that maybe he wasn’t the next Hemingway, but more like Dr. Seuss. This made me think about my own writing. Am I trying too hard to be like one of my writing idols? Or am I writing what is in my heart, even if it doesn’t seem as great or important?

It’s okay to say no.

This year I’ve taken on an extra position at work where I mentor other teachers. I love this, but one problem is sometimes I’m so busy helping other people that I neglect my own teaching and planning! With writing, I often get so busy with helping other people or doing social writing stuff (conferences, webinars, etc.) that I don’t actually write. I’m learning it’s okay to say no, to put that oxygen mask on, so to speak, so I can get my own writing done. I’ve stepped back from critiquing at least for a season. And that’s allowed me to put more energy into my own stuff.

What about you? Do you write more or less during the busy holiday season? What is helping you this month with your writing?

Wishing all of you a lovely holiday season!

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