I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Tis the Season For Writing, Whining or Wining?

Before you all get well and truly swept up in Christmas and New Year madness, I'd like to get in now and send out a HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON message! I hope it turns out to be exactly as you want it to be. Spare a thought for me as I work some night shifts in the days before Christmas! Sniff sniff. (Thanks to my mum, by the way, for the cool flashing Christmas pictures in this post, which are her own creations!)

What I was wondering though, as I do my best to forget the fact that yet another year is coming to a close, was how many writers will be sticking to their writing regime over this period? Who will be locking themselves away in their writing cages, despite the jingle of bells around them? Is it healthy to keep up the daily word count, no matter what? Should we insist on giving ourselves a break during this festive time? I'm not talking about blog writing, which some people no doubt have to suspend as they'll be away from computers, etc. I also know that it's sometimes just too busy a time for a writer to get any intelligent phrases down!

What also comes to mind at this time of the year is the reminder that more months have gone by and I'm still waiting, waiting, waiting for responses. Forget the festive wine, I want a good long whine instead. I want a good grizzle. I want to throw all of my dummies out of the cot! The little clock is ticking by and all of the outfits that consider manuscripts now seem to want to be given three-month windows before giving responses. Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright.

The other thing, as January the 1st approaches, is what to come up with as a feasible New Year's resolution. Write more? Start sleeping with publishing house people? Publish myself? Give the whole "want to get published" thing up so I can have an anxiety free life? Change genres and start writing crime or sci-fi novels? Truth is, I will probably just maintain the status quo. A sucker for punishment?

On one feasible level, I've decided to reduce the time I spend sitting down in front of a screen. My day job involves a lot of this and it's becoming all too common at home as well. I am going to try to plan my "in front of screen" time. I am also doing daily exercise now. I am walking every morning before breakfast, for 45 minutes - that's when I'm not doing a dreadful 0730 start at work! I am also doing 20 push-ups after the walk. Superman in three months? Just call me Clark.

Yes, I have been spending far too much time slouching down in front of all you lot, forgetting to keep all of my bits and pieces moving. Don't get me wrong though, I do like connecting with you! It's not about cutting back on the blog or the writing, it's about working out a more productive and efficient schedule. Well, that's the resolution; we'll see how it all goes in January.

Also, is it true that people read a "festive season book"? Do people actually go out and choose a book that is especially appropriate for this time of year? I have never done this. My reading choices go unchanged. I'm currently reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It has nothing to do with Christmas or this festive season. All the newspapers are full of advice about what we should read at this time, yet - and remember that there are not many who actually have extended holidays right now - I really can't believe that people rush out and buy books for reading beside the holly and punch. Of course, there are books for presents, but they wouldn't necessarily have the festive theme, would they?

Well, that's my festive wondering out of the way. Now, where's the wine? I need to turn my attention to greater thoughts about how much I'm going to enjoy my Christmas dinner (it's hard being a vegetarian in France during these times, by the way, but I have managed to find good alternatives). I also need to think about how I'm going to celebrate on New Year's eve.

Oh, and before I forget, Jessica Schneider has an interesting pre-Christmas review of what sounds like a great movie, one that I really must get round to watching. Could this be good for any festive season cynics?


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be able to summon up the concentration needed to write for the next three days. But I did write this morning.

Anonymous said...

Well, glad you got all that off your chest. Now, stop phaffing around and get back to what you like doing best - writing.

unarex said...

Thanks for the post (& link) Shameless, and I do hope you get around to watching that film. It's especially nice on Christmas Eve. In the US it's a Classic, so it's hard to imagine this film not being pressed into your brain, but many over here, esp. in their 30's haven't watched it because of it's 'sappy' reputation, which I tried to show by way of my review, that the artistic quality in the film has been overlooked.

Anonymous said...

Shameless, I feel the same way about the time I am spending in front of the computer. Look! I'm doing it again. I, too, want to organize my time better, but I like to post my visitors' comments as quickly as possible, so I am always dropping by the computer to check...and there goes another hour!

I'm just finishing up a vignette that I am going to force on everyone before Christmas dinner in Connecticut. It's a bit grim. It is set somewhere in Europe two months after the end of WWI at Christmas time and is based on a story my great, great aunt told me. (Should make for a lot of laughs around the dinner table. Heh heh!)

Those flashing Christmas images by your mother are FABULOUS! Is it OK to steal them?

Jessica, that cat is so funny!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday! (My official "card" is on my blog.)

Lynne AKA The Wicked Witch of Publishing

S. Kearney said...

Could be a good time to write Christmas carols/poems?

You are a Christmas elf!

Yes, that film is on my list of things to do now, thanks to your review.

and Lynne, yes, feel free to grab the flashing Christmas graphics. I'm sure mum would be honoured.

unarex said...


I'm always finding Oscar in these positions, and I just can't resist the shot.

Happy Holidays.

Anonymous said...

Shameless's mom's decorations are now up on my blog in my latest posting. Thanks, Shameless. And, thank you, Mom!

S. Kearney said...

There's nothing like that sharing spirit over Christmas, Lynne :)

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Shameless. I hope you have a marvelous 2007. :)

Anonymous said...

Write when the words are there and the muse moves you. Yes, there is discipline involved but there's also no point in trying to force yourself to write when you're not in the flow of the story.
As for getting published - develop a really, really thick skin and keep trying. And yes, balancing time... hmm, that can be a tough one!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

(Love those flashing graphics - well done, mum!)

S. Kearney said...

Jefferson and Atyllah,
Thanks for your messages. I hope you both have a wonderful Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Shameless, why are you punishing yourself with The Time Traveller's Wife?! I thought it was a great idea, but the writing is awful!

S. Kearney said...

Merry Christmas nmj. There is something special about the story of the Time Traveler's Wife, and that has sucked me right into the book. I haven't really noticed the writing as being one way or the other yet, but I'll let you know. I'm kind of attached to the characters already, wondering how things are going to go.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shameless, Belated Merry Christmas to you & Happy New Year when it comes. It's a couple of years since I read TTTW, and the clever plot kept me going, but the writing just left me cold...it felt lazy to me, and I recall being irritated by the writer's propensity for lists of things (in characters' cupboards etc), and I just found the female character dull, the time traveller (can't remember his name) was funky though. I think AN is a visual artist turned novelist - I remember reading an interview and really warming to her, but I won't be rushing out for her next novel...

Anonymous said...

My writing regime went out of the window weeks ago!

What a clever mum Mrs. Shameless is!

Hope you're enjoying Christmas despite the night shifts.

S. Kearney said...

Hi Julia, and merry xmas. You know how it is in our business ... the world never sleeps! I'm back on days now though ... whew! Night shifts come around every 9 weeks, so it could be worse. And I'm sure your writing will fall back into step before too long, like mine.

unarex said...

I agree with nmj. Interesting idea, but the writing in TTTW is terrible. It just clunks. The dialogue is really bad too, and poorly dev't characters. And talk about badly written sex scenes.


S. Kearney said...

Ooooh, I haven't come to the sex scenes yet, so I will keep my eyes peeled!

The comments from you and nmy raise the whole issue of whether good ideas can prop up writing that's not so good. I've seen many examples of this. It depends on so many things, I suppose.

My judgement is reserved on The Time Traveler's Wife, however, which is still "fun" 114 pages in.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you!
I like your resolutins - can I borrow them? I find Christmas, New Year and family around and about far too distracting for any consolidated writing - I use my blog, and website, to keep the words flowing (a little.)

S. Kearney said...

Hey there, Chief Biscuit, long time no hear from!

It's so nice to see your pictures and titbits from home! Your photos always give me slight home sickness.

You are welcome to my very sage resolutions, which I am going to be enforcing with vigour this week, and then we'll see how we go.

It's funny because I'm currently scouting around websites for addresses for approachable NZ publishers for my NZ focused book. Gosh, where to start?

I tried to make the most of some personal contact I once had with somone at VUP but have heard nothing at all for more than five months after an email and a posted submission. I wonder what's going on there?

And the bigger houses don't seem to be moving much local fiction from new writers. I see there are some quite active smaller ones - Hazard, Reed, etc, but I wonder how much they're producing.

Bring it on, 2007!

P.S Did you get my email about checking out your other writing projects? I didn't hear back, so maybe it didn't get through.

Anonymous said...

Love and lighted things for 07, Shameless, my friend.