Friday, December 17, 2010

Writing Time in the Holidays

Holidays are wonderful! While other people dream of beaches and sunshine and frozen daiquiries at all hours of the day and night, I check my pile of saved-up books and can't wait for the time when I can start on them. My brain is free of work stuff, and I'm able to finally focus and tackle books that at other times of the year seem "too hard". I'm planning to read, among other things, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and Freedom by Jonathan Frantzen. I've got Matterhorn by Karl Malantes on order at the library, and Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine on order from an online bookseller (ready for when it's available in paperback).

I've also been stockpiling a few good crime novels, including some new Swedish writers, and the third Ranger's Apprentice book by John Flanagan. As I'm teaching Poetry 2 next year, I'm also reading poetry and delving into anthologies for gems to use in class. But with all this reading lined up, am I going to write as well?

The thing is that reading great books inspires me to write more than anything. I love to soak up all of those words and then go write lots of my own. I have two major editing and/or revisions to work on, so reading reminds me about sentences and language. But I also want to work on something new, and seeing books that other writers have written and rewritten (because none of them are going to be first drafts!) reminds me that putting my backside on the seat and writing is the only way I'm going to get a finished manuscript, too.

Funnily enough, even though holiday times are when we believe we have the most time to write, I can't tell you how many people admit to me that they ended up doing no writing at all! It's easily done - there are parties to go to, sleep to catch up on, family commitments, time with the kids, TV and movies to veg out in front of, video games, Facebook ... While telling yourself you really need that time off and you really need to do some family stuff etc etc, you can end up spending your whole time doing everything but writing.

Not trying to make you feel guilty, mind you. Just saying....


Snail said...

Well, I really must reduce the piles of books in 'to read' box. (They're in a box so they don't succumb to insects and fungi.) They include a couple of Umberto Eco titles and some historical biogs, so might be slower going than I anticipate.

Good luck with the backside-on-seat resolution!

Kristi Holl said...

Glad you're getting a break from the teaching and have a chance to read now. It fills the pond with words--my pond gets "fished out" if I don't have time to read. Enjoy!

Sherryl said...

Umberto Eco is definitely "fill the brain up" material. Sure you don't want to add the new Michael Connelly...? Or something less cerebral?

Sherryl said...

Kristi - I read all year but feel like at times it's all "escapist" reading (although nothing wrong with that).
It's the poetry and deeper writing that really inspires me.