What are Your Intentions for What Remains of Christmas Break?

Mantle 2This year was one of my best Christmases ever! My parents came up from California. My son, his “orphaned” friend, my daughter and her husband, and my three granddaughters celebrated with us. The house got cleaned and decorated. I was even able to bake gingerbread and decorate sugar cookies with my daughter and granddaughters, not to mention support my daughter in her first ever ornament party for the girls. There was time for fun, for fellowship, for worship, and even a little creativity. Just how I like my Christmases.

Now, with a week remaining of Christmas break, what are my intentions? I am committed to finishing the revisions on The Swallow’s Spring, so in the new year I can commence the submission process. I have a little over 100 pages to go. Friday and Saturday I was able to carefully do a double round of revisions through thirty pages.

What are my objectives? Eliminating thought and dialogue tags to create a deeply immersed third person point of view, getting rid of any lingering “telling” and working in the appropriate degree of “showing,” and last, just generally tightening everything up.

I want to commit to daily updates here, and yet I don’t. However, I have written this and I am posting it. Therefore, count me accountable.

A Balanced, Literate Life~Happy Holiday’s Style

SnowflakeIt  is snowing on WordPress. December is here.

And again, I feel I must apologize for my long absence. Working full-time, I have yet to find a balance between my teaching life, my writing life, and my blogging life. Frankly, teaching and writing have such a rocky relationship that, as you have probably observed, blogging is getting the short end of the icicle. (A little winter imagery.)

I work five days per week teaching writing to students seeking to pass the GED test. This is very satisfying work.

My husband and I carpool, and because of the disparity in our schedules, I usually have about a half an hour to write (or revise–which I am presently engaged in, seeking to create a deep, tight, third person point of view in my novel, The Swallow’s Spring).

I am also blessed that, in an effort to provide debriefing time and support our students’ literacy, The Downtown Learning Center dedicates fifteen minutes at the start of the morning session and fifteen more at the start of the afternoon session to journaling or reading–staff included. Last spring I used this time to write a new beginning and several chapters for a novel I am longing to get back to work on, but have set aside for the revision I am doing. This year I have been using it to read, alternating between fiction and writing books. I am really enjoying this time.

For a while, I was working an hour after school writing about three days per week. Sickness and busy schedules decimated that happy pattern. However, what are we told to do when we fall off that sled? Get up, brush yourself off, head back up to the top of the hill, and try again. Maybe this week I will finally start “sledding” again.

Reading, thank God, is something I have never utterly lost. I’m the sort of person who reads cereal boxes and toilet paper wrappers if nothing else comes to hand, so most nights, I read before I go to sleep.

Blogging happens, catch-as-I-can, on weekends. There is so much I read, and observe, and learn in the course of my daily life that I think would make good blog posts. My desk and in-basket are scattered with little notes and clippings on which I have scribbled, “Blog about this.” Hopefully I’ll get back to doing so more regularly in time.

So, what’s in this wintry post for you? Although I came to my blog discouraged and, I know, it reads a lot like a journal entry, there really is a takeaway for both of us.

If you, too, are having difficulty balancing your literate lifestyle, be encouraged. While I thought I was not accomplishing much, I have actually gotten in quite a bit of reading and writing just by using “little moments.” (We spent three Sunday afternoons in a row in urgent care, and a magazine accompanied me each visit.)

Yes, I long for huge, snowbanks of hours to write. However, in just two months, I’m nearly two-thirds of the way through The Swallow’s Spring‘s revision.

Use those little minutes. They add up. Take your reading and writing materials with you. Portability is a wonderful thing.

My wish for you this wintry night? May your December be merry and bright. Enjoy a happy holiday and some precious time to write.