But it's Christmas time that I love the most. I wait like a child all year long for that sense of wonderment to return as I prepare for a month long celebration. If I'm lucky I will see snow fall on Christmas Eve and feel the crunch of the flakes under my boots. I will take my sister on a tour of the holiday lights twinkling around the city while we listen to Christmas songs on the radio. Later we will return to my house for hot chocolate and a holiday movie. December brings with it a chance to make new holiday memories while still allowing me to reconnect with the traditions of Christmases past. But there is a new tradition that I have started this holiday season...one that will hopefully bring me comfort and joy for many years to come.
After many years of silence, I have returned to writing. Now, more than ever, the words of stories yet to be written call to me...urging me to get it all down on paper before I forget. But it also makes me wonder sometimes if I'm ready for the challenge. My heart tells me to write for children and young adults. My mind says it is a very demanding task to create something in today's world that will stand the test of industry critics and today's readers. Yeah, I could slap something together and probably find some online "publisher" to put my story out there. But I'm a perfectionist and I expect more from myself than that. And so there are moments since I have started writing again when I think to myself, "Can I learn what it takes to be not only a good writer, but a GREAT one? Will I be able to write something one day that will bring a smile to a child's face, comfort a fear, or encourage a dream?"
I was listening to the radio the other day, enjoying the latest round of Christmas tunes, when a song by Josh Groban started playing. "If You Just Believe" was originally intended to remind children...and adults...that the magic of Christmas is very real if one is willing to just believe in the possibility that such a thing can exist. But when I heard him sing that chorus, it flashed in my mind that those words can ring just as true for a writer like myself. I like to believe that I have a talent that can be cultivated in order for me to create stories that others may enjoy one day. Now I just need to believe that this talent, if I work hard at sharpening it, will be the foundation by which I become that GREAT writer I would like to be someday!
So my new tradition this holiday season is to lay aside any self-doubt in my writing ability, especially at Christmas time, and let the wonderment of the season spill over into my stories. I will sift through my PB ideas like a child rattling a Christmas gift, trying to determine what is inside, and choose the brightest ones from the group to work on. I will write, rework, revise and polish each nugget until it outshines any bauble on my tree and then I will BELIEVE that there is a home out there in the great big world for my creation. What a wonderful tradition that can be enjoyed all year long!
What will YOU believe in today? What new writing traditions will you create for yourselves this holiday season?