Green Shoots and Spring Fever

Winter in Colorado comes and goes. We get storms, but the mountains usually do a great job of walling the snow away from the city. When storms do scale the Rockies, they’re often gentle. I woke Monday to a slushy snowfall that gave the city a much needed bath and hopefully doused the fires that have been threatening so many homes out on the plains.

I usually disdain talking about the weather, but I was struck by the contrast of soft snow on budding trees and fresh shoots poking up through the blanketing white. I love the way snow quiets the city, muting the sounds of cars and traffic. I just wish it inspired me.

Spring is a strange, contrasting time for my writing. While everything around me is budding with life, I tend to find myself withdrawing, curling up inside and waiting to work. Fall inspires me the most, and there are long stretches in that season when

I can’t break away from the keyboard; but spring makes me contemplative, a little depressed, and I have to force a balance between breaks and productivity if I’m going to write a good book I can sell.

I have a deadline I’ve set myself. It’s an important component of the self-discipline I’m developing for the day when I am published and my deadlines come from without.

It helps to remember that forcing myself to write when I don’t really want to has produced some of my best work. I have to push myself to be engaged, and it often pays off. I’ve delivered a nice chunk of my work in progress to my critique group, and their feedback gives me something to chew through while I wait for inspiration to light.

I’ve often written about the need for continual improvement, but not enough on the topic of continual work. The comparison that stands the strongest as I look back on my thoughts on the topic is the gym: once you’re out of the habit, it’s hard to get back to doing it every day; but it’s important for your writing health. Just like muscles, your craft can atrophy. So keep to it, even if you’d rather stare out the window at the coming spring.

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