You know, I’ve made the last few weeks into pretty damned good writing weeks. I’ve written and posted a six–part series which helped me not only get into a regular writing habit but also helped me hurdle a few obstacles between me and creating a workable outline for a novel. I’ve done over eleven thousand words of something that’s looking too big to be a short story and won’t make up its mind whether it’s a novella or a novel. (What are the requisite word counts for those, anyway?) I’m stashing away the lessons I’ve learned for when I get stuck into Slamdance again after the second false start for NaNoWriMo.
But I came into this weekend in something of a panic. I’d put a fresh post up on Thursday and wanted to have at least one thing more this week to keep my blogging momentum going. But Christmas was bare days away; there were presents to be wrapped, decorations to be hung, dinners to be organised. Worse still, that freaking short story / novella / novel had got its hooks into me and was demanding I write more of it.
This morning, Christmas morning, I got up wanting to blog, but I had no idea what to write about. My step-daughter Gemma and her man Anthony got me a copy of District 9, but that’s under embargo until later in the week of holidays I’ve got (not for particular Christmas reasons, it’s just that Vickie wants to be well out of the way while I watch it), so no opinions or breakdowns ready to go. I spent a good chunk of the morning playing my lovely wife’s Christmas gift to me, the game Burnout CRASH! (get it if you can, it’s simple fun, although no matter what the Hoff says it works a lot better on controller than Kinect) and got a few games of Halo: Reach in with a mate in the States (it was still Xmas Eve for him). The rest was helping Vickie get the turkey and some last presents ready for Christmas Dinner. No blogging, no story-ing.
After lunch, I finally sat down and thought – well, what’s my problem? I mean, really? I listen to a lot of podcasts on writing advice and I’ve been told heaps an heaps of times to write every day, keep a journal, set goals, fail quickly, increase my output, accept that what you do is shit (although there were some embarrassing moments around the last two until I realised they were talking about writing regularly, not… er… regularity), just keep writing, on and on.
Then I remembered that they only way to really be happy is to not let others’ expectations or priorities shape mine, mo matter how good their intentions may be. If it’s stressing me out, I either do it without stress or not do it.
Not only that, today I get the chance to have dinner with a pretty bloody awesome bunch of folks: My local family. If I’m constantly telling myself, “I should be writing!” I’m not only going to be shithouse company but I’m also going to miss out on some good times with great folk, not to mention my newest step-grandson’s first Christmas Day.
So after this, I’m going to step away from my computer, help Vickie finish the turkey and any other bits and pieces that need doing, then take the both of us out to have a great evening with our family. If any of you are caught up with work or panicking that you’re having to take time away from your passions in order to Do The Expected This Christmas – unplug, log out, relax and go spend some time in the company of awesome people.
And if you don’t know any, or you Just Know that Bad Vibes will abound at the family get-together – why not go to the zoo?
Don’t let your panic brain stop you from having a Merry Christmas (or, for that matter, a safe and Happy New Year), folks. There’ll always be plenty of time. And if there isn’t? Don’t waste it on stress: Spend it on being happy.
P.S.: If you see me on Xbox Live playing Burnout CRASH! today, well, I’m just a figment of your imagination – unless you’re in the mood for a celebratory crash challenge…
P.P.S.: 720 words! Woohoo!