“Life happens”, or so they say. It’s true. Sometimes life gets in the way of us doing what we want to do. We want to be writing but we have to go to work, one of the kids is sick, the dog needs to go to the vet, or it snows two feet and after hours of shoveling you can hardly move let alone think. That was no doubt the problem for many writers across the east coast this past week.
In most cases we just have to resign ourselves to the interruption and do what we must knowing there will be time to write later. But, rather than give up entirely, use this time to observe. We are surrounded every day with sights and sounds that could build a life-time of stories. You never know, you might find the answer to your plot problem, or your character question, in an overheard conversation on the bus or at the next table in the café. Don’t let anyone suggest you’re wasting time by reading a book when you could be writing yours. Tell them you’re studying the methods of another writer in order to strengthen your own.
As for that snow storm, that is a blessing in disguise. Yes, if you can’t get to work that means the kids can’t get to school. Bundle up with them and go outside and play! When was the last time you built a snowman, or an igloo? When was the last time you packed a snowball in your hands and surprised someone with a thunk in the back? Be a kid again. Go sledding or ice skating. I bet you’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel that icy wind in your face as you fly down a fresh snow-covered hillside. Later you can go for a walk with your love or your best friend, or even alone. Walking down the street under the muted glow of the street lamps, the whole world silent but for the crunch of your boots as they pack the snow beneath your feet, large fluffy snowflakes falling slowly all around, brings an amazing sense of peace.
And at the end of the day, a bubble bath with a scented candle, quiet music, lights low, and a glass of wine. Congratulate yourself for a day of work well-done…it’s called “research”.
Sledding by Jane Yunker
Boots kick silently through fresh snow,
long tracks in late afternoon shadows.
Alone I stand, white slope,
virgin snow, untouched.
Running belly flop, head down,
wind chapping cheeks, stinging eyes,
heart pounding with the thrill,
gliding to a slow stop.
Boots kick silently back through fresh snow,
humming, smiling, I trek down
streets deserted, lights twinkling,
windows steaming, dinner waiting.