This time of year life seems to speed up. There are so many scribbles on the calendar, it's hard to keep track, and 2016 urges our brains to charge ahead. Between festivities, gift-giving and gatherings, we creatives struggle to balance work and play.
If you have a project due, like a book publishers are waiting on, you're probably huddled in a hidey hole, curtains drawn, ears stuffed with cotton and a towel crammed under the door to drown out holiday music and the smell of baking cookies. You finish a day's worth of edits and crawl out of your cave, then dress for the party you wouldn't dare miss, if only your head wasn't filled with plot. But as your significant other shows off his eye-popping Christmas sweater, your brain sneaks back to story. And there it is, the perfect twist for that boring scene you couldn't figure out! Your fingers itch to type. You can't wait to get home to your computer. But
. . . you glance at your beloved, now singing off-key carols with friends and family.
They laugh and roll their eyes at your unfocused look. But they get it. They understand the creative process commandeers our brains, and they love us anyway. So you stay at the party. Life is not all about art, even when there are deadlines. And tomorrow, bright and early, it's you and the cave and the book.
If you DON'T have a publisher breathing over your shoulder, set your work aside and enjoy the holidays. Creativity needs down time. It's fueled by the life we engage in, including manic shopping with strangers wearing bells and blinking sweaters, and making a mess of your kitchen with people you love. January 2nd, when the confetti is swept aside and a new year stretches before us, we'll pull up our story files, set a canvas on the easel and create.
Whatever holiday you celebrate, focus on love. It flows more freely this time of year, so open your heart, give and receive, store the good feelings to fuel your next year.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist, and I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti at Open Book Literary.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor