It's that time of year for me to hunker down with a book, a blankie, a mug of something warm and tasty, and of course- a fire in the fireplace. Once there, I am transported back to winter of my adolescence. I'm curled up on my parents' couch, the smells and sounds of family surround me. This moment- warmth and love radiating, my imagination roaming-is one of my all time favorites. I adore that now, on the precipice of 40, I can use these four magical items to transport me to that wondrous place anytime I choose. These days, I can also use it to ignite my own imagination for writing. Be it with a journal and a special pen, or my laptop, I can curl up and be in that wondrous place. The stories I've read come flooding back and provide me jumping points to weave my own words.
During the holiday season, it can be tough to find hours, let alone minutes, to sit and write or read. But I make time. Lately it's been mostly reading, something I can do in short sprints and spurts. I find it hard to sit and write in the few moments I find between wrapping gifts, running kids, and the more mundane things like work and housecleaning. I know there are people out there who can sit and write for ten minutes here and there, but unless it's writing a really bad poem, or an idea down, it's not me.
Take heart though- if you're like me- and simply read. Remember, reading is research for writing; at least I tell myself it is! Whether I'm reading a fabulous piece of literary art, or something I'll send the author a note about why I cannot review it, I find value. Reading makes me assess my own skills. For instance, the word 'that'. We all know it; some of us abhor it. It shows up in my writing WAY too often. So, when I'm reading a book for review (usually from and Indie author) I take notice of the things I find annoying, or devices I find amusing or useful. I can take these bits and pieces and use them in the self-critique of my own work. Writing is a process, of course, and as a writer, I'm constantly growing. It's like any other hobby or job. You have to continue to explore and apply to hone your skill. One of these days, I'll be close to happy about what I write (most likely when I'm closing in on 90). In the meantime I will remind myself whatever 'book' related work I do- be it reading or writing- is improving my own skill and keeping the creative spirit alive.