Finding my way back to the page after the distraction of the holidays. Writing the word "distraction" just now, I wonder why I look at it that way. I actually enjoyed a lot - if not all - of it. Time with family and friends. Time to create a "alternative rock holiday" Pandora station (wow, I'd forgotten about that crazy Bob Dylan cover of "Must Be Santa"). Time to string up lights all over the house, wear sparkly vintage jewelry, pick out presents - especially books - for people I love. And time to cheerfully imbibe things I usually regard with a wary eye: sugar cookies with a frightening amount of weirdly colored icing, chunky gingerbread persons, cocoa with a hot splash of brandy and, oh, why not, a small Mt. Kilimanjaro of whipped cream on top. There were parties and feasts and get-togethers and events...and during that time, I didn't write a word.
There is a feeling many writers have, that missing too many days of writing means failure. A fear that the flames must be stoked each day or the fire will go out for good. What I have found, though, is occasional breaks are good. Especially if those breaks involve music, dancing, laughing - or walking alone in the snow. It's important to nurture the celebratory part of us, to let go of daily obligations and submit to the seasonal whirl. The fire may dwindle, but creativity doesn't roar 365 days of the year. Sometimes it smolders for a time, while the conscious mind is elsewhere. Coming back after the break, tending it gingerly, I find it flares up again. I also find that I see new things in the writing as I re-engage, things I hadn't noticed before that need to be changed, ideas that take the work in a different and exciting direction.
How about you? How do you find your way back to writing after a break? What do you see in the work when you come back? Whatever you find, I hope it surprises, enlightens, inspires you: and I hope your new year starts off with a sense of good things to come. Stay warm!