Holidays, Home and Star Wars

I took a little break from the blog because, you know, the holidays and all. Like many people, I headed back home for Christmas (Burlington, in my case) with every intention of spending at least part of my time there getting some  writing done.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t write a damn word, except a little editing on the next story I’m sending off to Writers of the Future. And that’s 100% okay. A couple weeks ago, on a whim, I sent a question to the hosts of Writing Excuses, asking if any of them have trouble balancing holiday obligations and wants with writing momentum and deadlines. I got a reply back almost immediately from Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Glamor in Glass, who simply said, “It’s okay to take a vacation from writing.” And she was absolutely right. My holiday became a time to decompress from everything – teaching, writing, housework, and the various obligations that come with a sudden change in the path of your life.

Being an effective writer requires a lot of solitary hours generating words, editing, researching, and so on. And as much as things like conferences and reading series are great recharges for me, spending time with people you care about and don’t see as often as you’d like is an important recharge, too. Today, obviously, I’m back to the grind, taking advantage of my time off before school starts up again to get some serious wordsmithing done. But despite all the warnings in writing advice columns about losing your momentum, my writing this week is easier because of my holiday.

While I’m here, though, I want to talk about Star Wars for a moment. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and so it should come as no surprise that I’ve already seen The Force Awakens twice. The Internet is full of people commenting and criticizing, so I won’t bother here; I’ve done enough of it with my friends, anyway. What I will say is that seeing the new movie in theaters was easily one of the highlights of my holidays. And that’s not to downplay the value of seeing my friends and family. Star Wars is, without exaggeration, the reason why I got into science fiction and fantasy. Any criticisms of the movie aside (it isn’t perfect, I know) are meaningless to me; all that matters is that for a glorious two hours and fifteen minutes (x2) I was back in that galaxy far, far away, seeing characters that I fell in love with as a kid and new faces that I can’t wait to see again.

I said to a friend of mine before my first screening that watching The Force Awakens was like reuniting with an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s an experience that you can’t recapture. And, just like heading home to see your loved ones after months away, it’s an experience that recharges the old batteries in your heart and mind, for when you return to your laptop to pound out a few more words.

To all my fellow writers out there, I hope you continue to have an excellent holiday, and all the best with your endeavors in 2016!



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