Dear Reader: Thoughts on a writer’s winter

IMG_7413The thermometer on my car read two degrees as I drove to work this morning. Even my dogs resist going outside in this weather.

But I happen to love January.

I love the quiet.

I love the peace and stillness after all the commotion of the holidays which tend to drain me.

This year, January is also a sort of hiatus from the busy-ness (and business) of releasing novels. My third one doesn’t release until May 1, and so I have a few weeks “off,” so-to-speak. The down time feels like a warm blanket against what can–for an introvert–feel like an overexposed heart.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m often on my knees with gratefulness about the opportunities and processes of previous and upcoming novel releases. But there really is a time and a season (no pun intended) for everything. I also love being able to hunker down and take my time “filling my tank” with pleasure reading instead of hurrying and having to skim. I love being able to take my time and to be more focused on writing and research and rearranging the plots and sentences more like a sculptor than an assembly line worker.

Words don’t always come easy for me.

Writing is hard work.

Life is hard work.

That’s why I love both the real and proverbial writing winter, when I can nestle myself in to a cozy corner of my home, with one or all three dogs at my feet (or in my lap), and take time to dream and let the words come, rather than feeling like I’m having to chase them down.

What about you?

Do you like winter?

Why or why not?

Dear Reader, Have you ever wondered what an author’s life is like for her kids?

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Dear Reader,

Perception often differs from reality.

Take the writing life, for instance.

If you’re tempted to think it’s a glamorous lifestyle, think not just pajamas, but the same pajamas, three days in a row, with maybe an occasional tooth brushing in there somewhere. 

My dogs stare at me all day long, wishing I’d take them for a walk.

My husband does a lot of the cooking, 1) because he’s an amazing cook and 2) because he realized you can’t feed teenagers solely waffles and Pop-Tarts.

But don’t take my word for it.

Just ask my kids.

(Note: I don’t post pictures, information, or the names of my kiddos online, so they’re identified by birth order: O = the oldest, M = middle, and Y = the youngest. They’re all teenagers and they’re every bit as astute and hilarious and convicting as their answers indicate.)

1) What’s the best thing about having a mom who writes books?

O: We get to read her books before anyone else.

M: She could be famous.

Y: I like to think that my mom has done something big in the world.

2) What’s the worst thing about having a mom who writes books?

O: She gets really stressed out and worried whenever one of her deadlines gets close. 

M: She doesn’t feed me at night. Just kidding. I’d say, probably the writing all the time, I guess.

Y: I don’t like her being on her computer all the time, even though I’m on my computer all the time.

3) Your mom writes about some pretty serious topics sometimes. How does that make you feel?

O: I think that she writes about topics that are either rarely discussed or topics that people try to avoid even though the topics she writes about are incredibly relevant and important and today’s world. 

M: That’s cool she’s passionate.

Y: That’s cool. And I become interested in the topics she’s writing about.

4) What sort of book do you wish your mom would write?

O: I think that the types of books she’s writing right now is perfect. I honestly can’t see her writing anything other than christian fiction.

M: Historical fiction, like The Jungle or The Great Gatsby.

Y: Historical fiction, an alternate version of reality in history, like instead of George Washington saying “no” to becoming a king, he says “yes” to being a king and it would show what America would be like.

5) What are some of your mom’s worst or weirdest writing habits?

O: Her weirdest writing habits would have to be the absurd amount of coffee she drinks whenever she’s writing. 

M: COFFEE.

Y: Editing all of my school essays.

6) What’s the one thing you wish people who read your mom’s books would know about what it’s like to have her for a mom?

O: I want people to know that it’s hard to write a book and that sometimes a writer needs their space in order to come up with ideas. We’ve had to learn how to deal with that situation a few times and it has taught our family to be patient and caring whenever she’s trying to finish her writing. 

M: I dunno.

Y: It’s fun, but it’s boring.

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Ahhh, out of the mouths of babes!

So you see, I don’t have it all together.

Not anywhere close.

And I clearly drink too much coffee. 

What do YOU want to know about the life of a writer?

Post or email me a question and I’d be glad to answer it on one of my future posts!

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Dear Reader is a series I post on every week. If you’re a reader and have an idea or question you’d like me to write about, relating to books or writing or editing, etc., jot me a note and I’d be much obliged to take a stab at your request. Also, if you’d like to read all the Dear Reader posts, click here. If you like insider information into my books or writing life, be sure to sign up for my author newsletter by clicking here.

Dear Reader,  Share your #yellowbooks today! 

I just love the fall.

Don’t you?

All the warm colors and cozy smells are like a hug to the heart. 

What color changes are you seeing in your neck of the woods?

We’ve got a lot of yellow going on. And so, I can’t resist another bookshelf post of my yellow spined books!

I must have a lot of “very favorite books,” because every time I make one of these stacks, “very favorite books” show up.The  Secret Life of Bees, for example. And of course, my trusty Thesaurus. Words are always a bright spot, right? 

Olive Kitteridge. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. The Awakening. Poetry. Bonhoeffer. And the beloved Brennan Manning.

What a great stack! 

What’s in YOUR yellow stack of books? Share on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #yellowbooks so we can celebrate the sun and the way books bring a bright spot to all our days!

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Our yellowing river birch.

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Yellow paint chips for a room I’m painting.

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And of course, a yellow dog!

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From the rising of the sun to the going down of it and from east to west, the name of the Lord is to be praised! 

Psalm 113:3

newsletterthanks
Dear Reader is a series I post on every week. If you’re a reader and have an idea or question you’d like me to write about, relating to books or writing or editing, etc., jot me a note and I’d be much obliged to take a stab at your request. Also, if you’d like to read all the Dear Reader posts, click here. If you like insider information into my books or writing life, be sure to sign up for my author newsletter by clicking here.