Seasonal Writing

on December 14, 2014 in Misc

‘Tis the season when we writers get neurotic.

You know what I mean.  We pause under the mistletoe, or beside the warm embers in the hearth, or while imbibing wine and good cheer and ask ourselves, “What did I write this last year, and why isn’t it enough?”


Sure, there are you disciplined, successful writers who could pull out a list of what you’ve written and what you’ve seen published, to say nothing of the hot irons you’ve got in the literary fire for 2015.

But when I cast my gaze over the previous twelve months, all I can think is, why didn’t I finish polishing my two Charity MacCay novels?  Why didn’t I finish that offbeat scifi novel I started just for fun?  Why haven’t I finished the screenplay, never mind that I just started it in October?

Some of you may remember that a couple Christmas holidays ago I pretty much swore off writing. Well, that resolution fell off the wagon.  But in some ways I did stop writing, because ever since then I haven’t set a single writing deadline.  I have little faith in my writing and especially in my get-it-published ability.  And since I have scant free time I’ve even found myself resenting having to spend it on writing.

But you know how it goes, don’t you?  Just when you think you’ve given up the literary ghost, the urge to finish telling a certain story, to find out what happens to your characters, to get your novel into some kind of print so that a couple friends and maybe a stranger or two will read it—that urge comes over you like an addiction and you find yourself at the keyboard and typing away.


This season, things are a little different for me.  I’m pretty much resolved to finish that screenplay soon.  I’m writing an essay-length non-fiction piece.  I’ve even figured out what to do in the sci-fi story. And Charity will be in print in 2015. And that’s that. If I never write another story, I can live with myself. But I do have to finish what I’ve started or I’ll go crazy.

This will be my last post until January.  I hope to see you back here, and I really hope you have a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season that’s full of love and other good stuff.

Take care. And please tell me about your own writing plans.

8 Responses to “Seasonal Writing”

  1. We keep swearing off the writing and then we keep coming back to it.
    Did you see Milo James Foster’s post yesterday? Scary what he’s accomplished this year.
    Merry Christmas, Helena!

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – I saw Milo’s and yes, it scared the heck out of me. Merry Christmas to you, Alex.

  3. Hart Johnson says:

    Man, I am having a lot more of that this year than past years… I know I wrote and polished MORE but the vast majority was on ONE project, so it feels like I fell down on the job, if that makes any sense… And because it is DONE now–out there, I don’t have the stack of ‘wrote recently’ to edit. Instead I am reaching back more than a year in my ‘not polished yet’ files and it just feels like somehow I’ve done something wrong…

  4. Helena says:

    Hart – Isn’t that feeling so frustrating? It always seems that I should have finished whatever I’m working on now way back when. I love what you write, and yet here you are also feeling off balance. Sheesh–we writers are so hard on ourselves.

  5. I will miss your blog presence. Sorry that my hectic days as a rare blood courier has kept me away until now.

    We should aim for progress not perfection. Every paragraph written is one closer to those magic words THE END. It is easier to sit down to the keyboard, saying “I am going to write just one paragraph.” It usually ends up in more. But if one is all you do, you have achieved that goal.

    May your Christmas and New Year’s be all you wish it to be!

  6. Helena says:

    Roland – I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that your New Year’s is even better!

    I very often tell myself I’m just going to write for ten minutes or finish a few sentences. Two hours later, I finally get up and I’ve written so much more. It’s kinda funny how often I fool myself like that.

  7. Glad you gave up that terrible resolution. “I do have to finish what I’ve started or I’ll go crazy.” I can totally relate to that. Problem is, there aren’t enough hours in the day. No excuses, though. Happy New Year, Helena!

  8. Helena says:

    Milo – And a very happy New Year right back at you, Milo my dear.