Friday, 22 June 2012
Time and Tide
Nature teaches us that every growing thing, from the smallest weed to the most magnificent oak, has its time. If we're smart, we too learn to move through those cycles and to make the most of what is going on around us. The longer days lend themselves to walks in the woods and treks across the beach, just as the winter evenings (I know, I'm getting ahead of myself) draw us towards the fire and quiet reflection. (And soup!)
It is possible to write with the seasons as well - to do your outlines in spring and then create and craft your words through the summer to achieve a literary harvest come autumn time.
On a smaller scale, there are times to start new projects, times to work with what you have, and times to bring something to a conclusion. It can be strange saying goodbye to a book, to leave behind characters who may have been in your company for years. They may even have been around you for so long that their stories spill over into further books.
This sense of the rhythm and seasons of your own writing cannot be learned from books. It's an ongoing process of observation and occasionally brutal self-honesty. Knowing when to stay the course is every bit as important as knowing when to quit. And even if a project doesn't run its course as you expected it to, technology has opened up new opportunities for cultivation and harvest.
As I enter the final stage of editing my fantasy, Covenant, in preparation for formatting and self-publication later this year, I have a good vantage point from which to view the long journey here. So many adventures along the way, including some false starts and the occasional wrong turn. I'm glad I kept on tending the plot (sorry, couldn't resist it) and trimmed back where it was necessary. There's probably a book in all that somewhere too.
Enjoy your summer, whether it be in nature, in your own nature, or in the nature of your writing. And take time to rediscover the pleasure of reading (and writing) outdoors - weather permitting!