Give Yourself a Writer’s Gift by Nevada McPherson
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Nevada McPherson as she shares with us “Give Yourself a Writer’s Gift.” Enjoy!
The holidays are here and there’s no better time to give.
All that giving is wonderful but don’t forget yourself while you’re handing out presents.
Give yourself three gifts every writer needs, especially this time of year: Time, Peace, and Quiet.
These three things will serve you well now and during the coming year. They fit perfectly and they’re something you can really use!
The writer’s gift of time
First of all, give yourself the gift of time.
Find a block of time every day to do nothing but write.
I realize this is easier said than done.
Especially during the holidays it “don’t come easy,” as Ringo says in one of my favorite songs, so that’s why it’s a gift to yourself to take the time, even when it looks like you have no time.
You might not do it normally this time of year, but doing it anyway makes it a true gift.
When you give gifts to other people, don’t you like to give things a person might not buy for himself or herself?
So if you commit to doing this —you really are giving yourself a gift!
The write’s gift of peace
Next, give yourself the gift of peace.
Stay peaceful instead of getting pushed and pulled by all the demands swirling around you.
Don’t go into a freak-out trying to be everything to everyone.
You’re a writer, and as such, you have to keep your wits about you.
Even when there’s discord, noise, and people running everywhere, there must be material there for you to write about later.
If you’re all caught up in the swirl, you’ll miss it!
Better to be peaceful and observe so that when you get your next block of time to write, you’ll be calm and ready to roll with it.
The writer’s gift of rest
As you likely know very well, writers need rest and rejuvenation to create their fictional worlds. They also need time to daydream, and depriving yourself of that downtime is not doing you or anyone close to you any favors.
I remember a film called The Muse, where Sharon Stone, playing a muse to a Hollywood screenwriter played by Albert Brooks, would appear to share the greatest of ideas, but when Brooks got desperate and came to see her for added inspiration, she would cry that she needed her rest (and also a salad nicoise) to be at her best so that she could continue to impart her wonderful ideas.
A tired muse is a very cranky muse indeed—so don’t let your inner muse get angry. Stop for a while. Take a nap. Sleep.
Perhaps that dream you’ll have will make for a great movie/ novel/ short story idea.
If you’re too tired, that muse may leave and not come back for a while.
So don’t think that if you sleep you’ll miss something; it’s more likely if you don’t sleep you’ll miss something!
Better that you should be rested and peaceful, having had your active writing time, than to be cranky, on edge, and burned out when everybody gets together to bake cookies, go shopping, cook holiday meals, and open presents. You gave yourself yours early. And aren’t you glad you did!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Georgia, Nevada McPherson lived in uptown New Orleans for many years and now lives with her husband Bill and rescue Chihuahua, Mitzi in Milledgeville, GA where she is a professor of Humanities at Georgia Military College. Nevada received a BA in English/ Creative Writing and an MFA in Screenwriting from Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge. She’s written over a dozen feature-length screenplays, one short screenplay, a short play, short stories and two graphic novels, Uptowners and Piano Lessons. Queensgate, the sequel to Uptowners, is her third graphic novel. For more information, visit www.nevada-mcpherson.com.