Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Meeting/ The Christmas Crazies

I have a confession to make. I get a bit crazy in the ramp up to the holidays. I get all freaky about stuff that is out of my control. I want the people in my life to do and say certain things. Which isn't exactly fair. They aren't characters in my novel. I need to give them the space to be who they are. I need to get what I need from something else.

I want things to go smoothly during the holidays and be, well, perfect. And every year, (another confession) I kind of expect a Christmas miracle. Naive, I know. And I know that is not how the universe works. I think it is a throwback from feeling the magic of holidays as a child.

I get frustrated with the hard things in my life at the holidays. And that is not what the holidays is about. It's about being grateful for what you have. And I am truly deeply blessed. But holidays also mark the passage of time. Last year is clearly etched in my head. And I hoped that this Christmas, things would be different.

My response to all this is to understand the pressure that I feel around this time of year, and to do some proactive stress relief. And to paint a different picture in my head about the holiday--one with tons of wonderful imperfections. And to latch on to one of the things that I can control--my writing.

Which brings us to the Monday Meeting. This feels interesting, coming off of the open thread on Friday about setting big picture goals. (Feel free to head back there to enter in your long term goal.) I have a clear view of what I need to do to get to the next step. I actually wrote down on my calendar what I want to accomplish day by day. This week, I am going scene by scene in my MG and adding what is necessary. I'm hoping by the end of the week that I will have finished adding/changing the scenes necessary to keep my character's arc flowing smoothly. Then I will have a good idea of what is next in my revision, and write myself an editorial letter about the novel.

When I get all crazy about the stuff in my life, I'll write (and run, and read, get coffee with a friend, and maybe do some yoga). I'll have something to work toward that is in my own control. What do you do about the holiday crazies? What are your goals this week? What do you get all freaky about? And, have you checked out this awesome Christmas carol at MS'sFV?


  1. The Holidays for us means travel to visit family. It's a little bit unpredictable w/winter storms, flight cancellations, etc. Last year we got stuck in Las Vegas when our connecting flight was cancelled twice. We ended up spending three days there. So, we go into this travel with an anything could happen frame of mind.

    I'm back to rewriting a YA novel switching from 3rd to 1st person. I'd like to get a rough, rough, rough, draft completed over the holidays. We'll see. I just read Fridays post. Good luck with your goals.

    Being almost ready to query--that's exciting!!

  2. Paul--I was just opening up e-mail to write to you, and there you were posting a comment. What time is it in Alaska?

    Good luck completing the rough draft. It's almost like you'll have your first re-write done.

    And--I'm not sure I'm as close as I say I am. I want to make great strides in the next couple of months.

  3. My mom's coming for a short visit. Got pre-cooked turkey ordered for her and another friend who are not vegetarian. Our house cleaner agreed to clean right beforehand. It's all coming together, but it still feels stressful.

    And I'm planning on fitting in some writing here. Somewhere.

  4. Heather, I totally understand the holiday craziness. I have the same thing here and I find myself getting upset over ridiculous things and trying to control the things I can. Although I'm not sure that I agree that my writing is one of them. The writing feels almost as out of my control as everything else. I need to sort through what I can control in my writing and what I can't. Like, as the revision comes along, I can control what I get attached to and what I let go of (can I?). And what I say no to so that I have more time to write. And when I start (I often put off starting and waste precious time). But I feel like inspiration and those emotional ups and downs are totally beyond my control.

    And--I must remind you that you are Supermom. I think you can do it all. And for superheroes it always gets darkest before they save the day. (That's true with inspiration too. I always feel the most hopeless before I have a good idea.) All you can do is keep writing!

    I love the Monday meetings!

  5. Sarah--It sounds like you are trying to keep the stress down. That's great. I'm finding the writing time is a must for me.

    I tend to drop the things that are healthiest for me (like writing) in times of stress--it's counterintuitive. I'm deciding not to do that this year.

    I'm glad you're going to sneak the writing in!

  6. Tina-- Thanks for the Supermom shout out. If I repeat it enough, it must be true, right? I am Supermom...

    And thanks for saying that I'm not the only one who gets the crazies this time of year. I thought that if I got a ton of holiday stuff done early, that I wouldn't hit the crazies this year, but evidently they come no matter how prepared I am for the celebrations.

    I think for me the part of my writing that I can control is that writing gives me an external life for me, outside of my kids and family. I love raising my kids, but I need to know that as I do that, I'm not sacrificing what makes me me. And the intellectual me, the one I don't want to lose, gets fed off of my writing projects.

    So, I control the fact that I sit down and write, and say, this is important to me.

    Although, you're right--revisions can take a life of their own. They can become a living, breathing, monster.

    But, I believe you can tame that beast, Tina!

  7. Have you ever read Penelope Trunk? Her blog is AMAZING. Anyhow, she writes down her life goals, her yearly goals, her monthly goals, her weekly goals, and her daily schedule Every. Single. Morning.

    I think it's a great practice, and helps focus you right off the bat. So my goal this week is to do it more than once a week, LOL!

  8. Natasha--thanks for the suggestion--Penelope's blog definitely sucked me in today. It's fascinating. Kind of like a soap opera--I just kept clicking...