Thursday, December 20, 2012

Writing Through Winter Break


by Amy Sue Nathan

While everyone is scurrying and scampering and wrapping and baking, I am not.  As a Jewish mom of two pretty-much-grown kids, this is a relaxing (dare I say boring?) time of year in our house. Hanukkah is over, and frankly, it’s not a big deal or important holiday.  It’s much more a reason to celebrate that my son is home from college and that my daughter finished her high school senior year finals yesterday.  (Whew!)

While having everyone around all day long every day is wonderful—especially because they can cook and drive, it also messes with my mojo.  That is no one else’s fault.  Just mine. I am a creature of extreme habit (those who know me well can stop laughing NOW) so the before school/after school/before dinner/after dinner schedule doesn’t exist. 

Even if it ever only existed in my head.

If I tried to do what I do every day…it wouldn’t happen. Knowing that was half the battle.  Embracing it was the other half!

This year, I’m choosing to work on blog posts and essays over our winter break and read some friends’ works-in-progress.  I’m going to fine-tune the synopsis for my own. Even though I’m always writing posts and stories and essays, this will be a more concerted effort to get ahead, in anticipation of my debut novel in May.  I’m going to spend more time reading the books I’ve collected and more time watching the movies I’ve recorded.  Having big kids around means more time with them, but it also means plenty of time on my own.

Of course I’ll dabble in my new novel, but a short winter break from that project will probably do it—and me—some good.  I’ll jot notes, make lists, add to the new timeline I’m trying out.  But I’m not adding it to my schedule.  One of the most important things on my schedule will be to take this time during everyone else's frenzy, to relax. 

A rejuvenating change in my writing routine, extra time with my kids, a few midday naps, reading books by the fire, and if the weatherman is right…Chicago’s first real snow of the yearthey're all gifts to be grateful for—no matter the reason or the season. 

Amy Sue Nathan’s debut novel, THE GLASS WIVES, will be published by St. Martin’s Griffin in May 2013.  Amy’s stories and essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times online, The Huffington Post, among many others.  In 2011 she launched Women’s Fiction Writers, a blog promoting the authors, books, and craft of women’s fiction.  Amy has also works as a freelance fiction editor. She is an unapologetic chocoholic who lives near Chicago.





17 comments:

  1. It's good sometimes to mix it up, and I bet you get back to the novel with much more energy :)

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn. I hope you're right! Happy holidays!

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  2. Amy, I love your plan!! And, ahem, I have a work in progress if you run out of things to read. :)

    Great post! So glad you've joined us here on the Girlfriends Book Club!!

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    1. Thank you for inviting me to join the esteemed ranks of GBC! And I'll always read whatever you want to send me. So just keep that in mind!

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  3. Do enjoy your almost-growns--once they fly the coup and get married, it's all about sharing them with in-laws.

    I'll look forward to reading your essays in this between-times mode of yours. I'd like to breathe a little of that into my life right now--a pause, a sigh, feet up and mind flowing.

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    1. Feet up! Great idea, Normandie. I am awaiting my ARCs and relaxing this morning is not coming easy to me. I hope you enjoy a lovely holiday break!

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  4. What a great idea to use your winter break time to spend more time reading. My tower of books not yet read is teetering, and I'd love to give myself permission to read a book instead of trying to write one.

    Thanks for sharing, and welcome to GBC. And, I was glad to find and subscribe to your WFW blog!

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  5. I hope you (and I) do more reading in the next week or so! It is about giving ourselves permission because reading feels indulgent. Really, it's just necessary, isn't it? Thank you for the warm welcome, and for checking out WFW! :) Happy Holidays, Christa!

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  6. I'm all for long nightly baths to read. I'm finishing Susan McBride's ARC, The Truth About Love and Lightning which is so imaginative and well-written and I have three more women's fiction books I can't wait to dig into. I also highly recommend DANCERS AMONG US, a beautiful picture book that depicts storytelling through dance and photography. Gorgeous. Welcome to the club, Amy!

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    1. I have read in the bath --but it always makes me nervous! LOL. I tend to read very early in the morning, in bed, before anyone else is awake and I've bribed the dogs with treats. Thanks for the welcome, Malena. :)

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  7. I'm definitely more in a reading mode right now, Amy -- there's nothing like a book on a snowy Midwestern night ;). Glad you're with us at the GBC and here's hoping 2013 will be a wonderful year for you!

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    1. Thank you, Marilyn! One of these days we are going to get together. So close but yet so far. What is it about Chicagoland that makes everyone and everything seem so far away?

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  8. I'm with Malena - a long bubble bath is perfect for reading. Probably why I haven't broken the tree book habit yet. I love your plan, Amy! And don't think I won't be checking in to make sure you're actually doing it. :-)

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    1. I am counting on it, Orly, and will appreciate it. Maybe the reason I don't read in the tub is...the iPad! Can't even put it in a plastic bag like my old 1st generation Kindle. Luckily I have a might stack of tree books near me at all times. :)

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  9. Sadly, I'm the opposite-with an 18th birthday party today, the Jewish side of the family coming for an English Christmas, a holiday deadline for novel two ... and the seasonal crud. But your wonderful post allowed me to escape, for just a few minutes. I'm going to use my deadline as an excuse to shut out the world between Christmas and New Year, to just hang out with my characters and write and pretend it's snowing in North Carolina…

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  10. I really love this post, I can really relate. My two oldest are home from college, the youngest just finished first semester of 9th grade. I love my quiet house, and I won't see much of it until 1/8, but I also love catching up with them and having them home. I am running around insane with Christmas cheer..but my routines of reading and blogging have been interrupted.
    Enjoy your family time!!

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