I drove all the way to Wal-Mart for my favorite coffee creamer (Coconut Creme is worth the drive but seriously, why won’t someone else sell this stuff?) in preparation of today. I finally finished Christmas shopping and would really like to devote some time to writing. It’s like a good workout for me, I look forward to it and feel endorphanized (that should be a word) when I’m done. But alas, I woke up to the realization that there are still ‘Christmas’ things to be done….meals to prepare for, cookies to bake for the neighbors, gifts waiting to be wrapped, and a house to clean before company arrives. Besides that, the kids are home for now so writing is pretty much out-of-the-question. What was I thinking?
On a more positive note, Christmas is a great time to get character ideas. Financial strain, the stress associated with selecting the right gift, and no time to shop make for the perfect trio to bring out the worst in people. I’m convinced that much of the generosity and selflessness that crops up at Christmas is just a rebound effect from people overwhelmed with guilt for being asses during the rest of the year. But that’s just me.
My point is, while you’re out fighting for parking spaces and the last ‘Cabbage Patch Kid’ (how’s that for dating myself) look around you. There are characters in every check-out line, on every highway through the mall (isn’t it funny how people move through a mall like traffic?), and every food court you hit between errands. Whether it’s the person behind you in line that offers to pay the $2 you’re short, or the person that tries to cut you in line at the food court (what the hell?? did these people not go to kindergarten?), these are all potential stars of your next novel, short story or poem. Look at their faces, listen to what they’re saying on their cell phones (so annoying that this is possible), and read their body language. Perhaps your painful shopping experience can turn into a deductible ‘research’ trip for your next book.
So, while holidays are useful times to be inspired by friends and family (refer to my previous post), it’s also a wonderful time to be inspired by the world around you.
If you’re like me and struggle with finding the time to write during the holidays, then just take notes, do some character research, catch up on your blog and be prepared to work on your novel when the time is there for you. Enjoy your holiday! Your family and friends are more important than your next novel!