I enjoy winter because it’s when I get things done. With my favorite outdoor recreations curtailed, I focus on creative pursuits--usually, my next novel. This has become such a habit that every year I plan for winter’s flurry of creative activity as the boost I need to meet my yearly publishing goals. In the plant world, I’d be a fir tree, continually green in the depths of winter, a spot of color amid the monochromatic snow.
So it’s no surprise my expectations for winter 2017 were high, especially as I have two Works in Progress (WIP) that have been begging for attention since July. In early November I began fantasizing about everything I could accomplish on my WIPs, the daily word counts I would meet, the nights I would spend in frenzied inspiration, and the candlelit evenings I would enjoy while curled up on the couch with the laptop, a blanket, and the cat.
I even labeled a page in my journal, “Using Winter to Your Advantage,” planning to jot down my creative successes during the winter months so I could write one of those viral posts that camouflage bragging about success using the pretenses of giving advice about how to achieve the same. (Oh, the hubris!)
Yesterday, as I leafed through my journal, I discovered that very page--blank, except for the title. I hadn’t made any notes because there was nothing to brag about.
You see, this has not been a creatively productive winter. In the plant world, I’d be the shriveled pile of sticks that used to be shrub.
To be fair, there are good reasons. While I’m fine, my family is fine, and I’m more blessed than many, I’ve had a lot going on. As a result, my fantasies of creative escape have faded into the realities of falling asleep from exhaustion with the laptop (and cat) on my lap, crying over story lines that were supposed to be funny, and discovering my novel-writing self is in deep hibernation with no indications of waking soon.
But during this long and uncharacteristic winter nap, I’ve enjoyed other blessings:
- Time for prayer and reflection.
- Quality time with family and friends.
- Re-evaluation of my goals and priorities.
- The opportunity to organize and scrapbook twenty years’ worth of family memories. (Four down, sixteen to go…)
- Sleep . . . because sometimes sleep really is better than writing.
Maybe that’s part of the plan. Solomon might have been feeling the same way when he penned these words: “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9, ESV
I wanted to be an evergreen, but I’m not. I'm a dried, brown bulb buried under a thick blanket of snow at the moment.
But hopefully come spring, the winter months of creative generation will help me become a field of colorful tulips.