Thursday, December 6, 2007

December's Lull

Hey, guys and gals, the holidays are upon us, a wonderful and blessed time of year. Like so many American businesses, the writing industry generally experiences a lull this time of year. People grab vacation time and the flu in fairly generous amounts. Hopefully, not together.

So, you've sent in your Golden Heart entries, you're polishing finals from other contests or utilizing feedback from other contests, and you're a little itchy about taking time off. Putting your feet up. Relaxing. Sipping eggnog. Munching cookies meant for Santa.

Don't be. Even God rested on the seventh day. If you feel you must work to stay ahead of the game, polish your entries and manuscripts like Grandma polished silver, seeing every extra word and exclamation point as removable tarnish. Snip, cut, and chop like celery for stuffing. Garnish with strong settings and unforgettable characters.

Very little new stuff gets done in publishing in December. Kind of like the whole Chinese New Year thing. Business goes on, but big decisions are generally held off for the new year, when evryone is back on board.

So enjoy this time, this gift of December. Relish the beauty and sanctity of a Bethlehem night, of angels in the desert, of peace and good will toward men. Read Max Lucado's A Crippled Lamb to a group of children, or one child. Perfect perspective.

January comes soon enough. Bless your family and your friends with your presence to the fullest extent of the word.

And bless you all for stoppin' in, seein' us gals in Seekerville. We've decorated the tree, laid out the manger, and the leastun's are earning bits of yarn and straw to make the Baby's bed softer by their good deeds.

We're blessed to have you and I only wish I could ladle you up some punch and feed you tiramisu. Good stuff.

And I've managed to make myself very hungry, but then what doesn't?????



Melanie Dickerson said...

It isn't good for me to completely stop writing, even for a short time, I've recently discovered. But sometimes you do have to shove the writing out of the way, physically and mentally, and spend time with family. Christmas is certainly the time to do it.

But after my recent bout of writer's block, I've decided: The advice to write something every day, even if it's only one sentence, is very good advice.

Janet Dean said...

Wonderful advice, Ruthy! And beautifully said. I wish I could put my feet up and share that tarimusu with you, kiddo.

With a January deadline for turning in my second book, I'm feeling the tug of war between work and play. If I remember to take the work a day at a time and stop peeking at my To Do list, I won't lose the wonder of Jesus' birth and the joy of the time I spend with family and friends. Any suggestions for eliminating stress, besides chocolate of course, would be appreciated. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, I wanted to tell you guys about a Christmas story that some historical writers and I have written in serial form. Laurie Alice Eakes is posting it to a blog she created just for this story. The first three episodes are up. The first one was written by Louise Gouge. My little part will be posted Dec. 16th, and Laurie Alice will wrap it up on Dec. 23rd. Here's the link:

Tina M. Russo said...

Tiramasu? I swear you have Italian lineage hidden somewhere in that Irish blood.

Taking off actual typing when the home from college child is actually home and occupying the office.

But have back up plan. Bought a ton of yellow legal pads to brain storm on. Stocked up on books in the line I am targeting to catchup on reading. Have a few how-to books ready to re-read and

Lots of good best sellers out there in all various genres to catch up on. I love this lull time, as the pressure goes down even for us unpubs.

Happy Holidays!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Isn't it amazing how one adult kid can take over your work space? I've answered more AIM's for Luke with tongue-in-cheek responses than he'll ever live down if he lives to be one hundred.

And had lots of fun doing it!

And then went over his grad school application essays. You know, it's always good to have a mom who writes, 'cause they'll check for grammar, mis-use of punctuation, spelling, etc.

And might even throw a reference about beer-pong into the essay, just to see if the adult kid is paying attention.

Ah, yes, the joys of sharing living space with extra grown ups.


Gotta make it fun.

And I have to be honest here, Melanie. Do I take my own advice and stop working.

Ummm.... No.

Can't do it. I do slow down, and I try to prioritize, but like you, if I stop, it messes with my momentum and I don't like that.

Kind of like a smoker without those Marlboros, you know????

And the Marlboro Man was a hunka-hunka burnin' love. Not that I'm encouraging smoking, but ya' gotta appreciate a Rowdy Yates type cowboy.

For those of you too young to remember Rowdy Yates, imagine a very young, totally hot Clint Eastwood.

I rest my case.

So I torment my children 'cause it's just more fun that way, and I do sloooooow down some, but I don't want people to feel guilty for taking a breath, catching up on things gone by. Too many Christmases pass without seeing those 'buds' or dishing with the gals.

And a little extra praise-worthy music is always a good thing!


Pam Hillman said...

To write, or not to write....
To listen to Melanie or to Ruthy...

Decisions, decisions...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Umm, Pammers...

We both confessed we still do it, Cupcake.

I just wanted to make those people who take time off to feel guilt-free.

Do ya' think it worked????


The Tyrant Who Is Really Nice at Christmas

Mary Connealy said...

Ruthy, sTep away from the caffeine. Nobody has to get hurt here today. :)
I have a cold so bad that you all are probably gonna catch it through the monitor.
Living on dayquil, hot tea and self-pity.
And yet, managing to lose weight.
I had today off, to go shopping.
So, between a blizzard and the mother of all colds I....went shopping.
what a trooper.
Got quite a bit done now. Turns out apathy and Kleenex give you just the right mindset to shop for Christmas.
Uh.........what's that cost.
Store employee answers.
That's the right amount. Wrap it up.
So you're buying a car battery for your daughter then ma'am?
Yeah, about that. Include the receipt will ya?
Done shopping in ten minutes.

Mary Connealy said...

I mean GAIN weight and maybe I accidentally took Nyquil.

Janet Dean said...

LOL, Mary! Glad you spread those germs around. An insomniac on Nyquil--those had to be interesting gifts.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Well sitting and soaking up some rest time sure does sound tempting. In fact I even schedule it each day, but doggone it, I can't seem to make it happen. I am organized. I am focused. You hear me plan Bers???? I refuse to admit I'm not. LOL

Tina, I think you have a great plan. I would love to get to the stack of yummy books I have to read.

This is a wonderful time of year. I love all the bustle. I love the extra entertaining. It is the ONLY time I love to shop. Shopping for gifts for others is much more fun than mundane things like everyday needs.

See maybe its a good thing some of us don't have a contract yet. How about in January? I'd love that call then.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the miracles of the season.

Julie Lessman said...

Wow, Ruthy, what a nice, sweet, low-key post to help us stop and smell the cookies ... are you sure you wrote it???

But you are soooo right with your advice, and I am soooo incapable of applying it! But I promise to try. Thanks for the re-focus ... I needed it!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ya' know, some days I hate that you all know me so well.

So, here's the dish.

My theory is I lull all other close-but-not-yet-pubbed authors into a legal state of stupefied tranquility, dozing by the fire, visions of sugarplums doing whatever it is sugarplums do, while I jump start my WIP's and beat them to the January gate...

A horse race with unpubbed but aspiring authors.

Pretty sneaky, huh?

Sound more like me, Jules????


Even tyrants take breaks now and again. Tina, remember that time in '78 when I took a day off? What month was that, anyhow? That was for my back surgery, right?

And now I must dis-heed my own advice and snip a synopsis into abbreviated shape.

Wish me luck.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

And Mary, Mary, quite contrary, it sounds like I sent you my Thanksgiving plague.

Still coughing by the way, but it's only been two and a half weeks...


Get better, my friend. That throat thing is nasty, but it did keep me quiet for several days and that's not always a bad thing around here.

As I'm sure you can imagine.


Julie Lessman said...

Ruthy said: "A horse race with unpubbed but aspiring authors. Pretty sneaky, huh? Sound more like me, Jules????

Oh, yeah!! :)

Love ya,

Myra Johnson said...

What???? You mean I should not expect a book contract for Christmas because ALL THE EDITORS ARE TAKING THE HOLIDAYS OFF???? What are they thinking???

Seriously, like Tina, I think I'm going to invest some time in reading and analyzing some good books.

Pam Hillman said...

Ruthy said: "That throat thing is nasty, but it did keep me quiet for several days and that's not always a bad thing around here."

It didn't slow your fingers down none...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pam, this is why I love you guys. To be known and STILL loved is the best gift of all.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Ruthie, you're making me hungry for food AND time with my family.

And hey..pass that recipe on...LOL!