Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What Needs to Get Done

by Elizabeth

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Yeah, well, maybe.

While the holiday season (we are equal opportunity here at WWW) can bring myriad joys, each of the six of us is a mother, and all mothers can tell you that the holidays bring work! A lot of it is, sure, wonderful, joyful, and all that jazz. But it's still work. I spent a good portion of today making homemade toffee, marking my fifteenth year stirring together butter and sugar to 290 degrees before pouring it out into pretzel or cookie or almond lined pans, then dumping chocolate on top. After it set, I broke it into pieces, bagged up portions, and then tied on ribbons for gifts for teachers and neighbors and friends.

I hit the UPS store to mail off packages as well, spent some time wrapping, and then, not holiday related, but end-of-season, hauled a few of my daughter's friends over to the theater so they could watch her latest production. Followed by dinner out to celebrate, and I'd like to apologize once more to our waiter for the mess and noise. (At least I didn't have to clean it up. I tipped the guy extra, I promise.)

There's just a lot of stuff. That needs to get done. And one way or another, even if it means replaying the scene in Yours, Mine, and Ours, where Henry Fonda finishes assembling the last bike as children pile down the staircase on Christmas morning, it gets done. Every year. Maybe that's part of the magic of the holidays.

As writers, we sit down day after day, and hope for the magic, sometimes called the muse, to arrive. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it doesn't simply because we never find the time to sit.

But why is that? Every year, the candy gets made, the gifts get wrapped, the magic happens. What needs to get done, gets done.

Meanwhile, I've sighed over my fingernails, wishing for a few spare minutes to paint them, or even better, visit a salon for a manicure, which I haven't done since June. I look at the pile of books beside my bed with longing, wishing for a stretch of hours to simply read. My dog cries, begging for a trip to the park, and settling for a session with the laser pointer. These things should get done, would be wonderful to get done, deserve to get done, but don't get done.

My book needs to get done. Not only that, my writing in general needs to get done, every day.

We are mothers here, all six of us. We get things done. We even get books done. But what mothers learn is that what needs to get done, is what gets done, and what can slide often does.

But our books, as writers, need to get done. A hard lesson mothers have to learn, and hopefully all do sooner rather than later, is that we must take time for ourselves. Our books, in the writing stage, are very much for us. We dream of readers, plan for futures, but the writing itself is something that is essential to our writers' souls, and it needs to get done.

A gift to ourselves, as mothers and writers: Get it done. It needs to get done, it deserves to get done, and if we can wrap another gift and make another pan of candy, we can get it done.

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