The Holidays and Sweet, Sweet Time

When we were considering our topic for the week of Thanksgiving, the word “disaster” kept coming up. Maybe the other ladies of the Deb Ball will have more disaster for you. The worst disaster Thanksgiving has wrought on my family—well, one time I left that bag of stuff that comes inside the turkey inside the turkey while I cooked it.

I’m not in charge of the turkey this year.

Actually, I’m never in charge of the turkey. I’m the member of the family who travels in the evening before or the morning of, stays for a night, and heads home. Short, sweet visits keep everyone talking to one another. I play with my nieces, I tease and get teased by my nephews. Sometimes I get to make the mashed potatoes. I make a mean mashed potato.

(The secret is butter.)and sometimes I take pictures of butter with bokeh in the background

(That’s not really a secret.)

While I love turkey and all the fixings, and always look forward to seeing my family, one of the main reasons I’m excited about Thanksgiving is—time.

Time is the precious commodity of a writer’s life. We have all there is. This is something that my old high school teacher, Dr. Tiffany, used to say. He was right then and right again. Writers have the same number of hours as anyone else—and yet that doesn’t feel true.

What’s the saying about writers having homework for the rest of their lives? Yes, that.

Thanksgiving means…free time? Some of you are probably wondering what The Heck I’m talking about. But remember the part where I travel, I visit, I return home? I don’t cook for huge parties or have people staying with me during the holidays like many of you probably do. For me, after the traveling is done and we’re back home with the dog, I get to read books, watch movies, and, you guessed it, write.

Days off from work equal days on for my writing job, big hunks of time to dig into that homework, to dig into my work-in-progress and figure out where it’s going, what still needs work. And, maybe, finish the draft.

Cranberry sauce takes a far backseat to getting a chance to finish a novel draft.

And that’s just Thanksgiving. The rest of 2013 looks good for sneaking in some writing and revising time, and then 2014—well, that’s the year I publish a book.

I know. I’m excited. But to get to that point, I spent a lot of evenings, weekends, vacations, and lunch hours—and days after Thanksgiving, yep—doing this part, the writing.

So for those of you who would like to say “This is the year I publish a book” some year, if not this one, go ahead and get started. Write today. Write every day you can and some days when you think you can’t. We all have the same 24 hours as everyone else, even if it doesn’t feel like it, especially during the holiday season. But time is magic. It’s may be hard to grab onto some, but if you do, just a little each day, it turns into enough pages to shape into a book. For which I’m really grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Lori Rader-Day is the author of the mystery THE BLACK HOUR (Seventh Street Books, July 2014). She grew up in central Indiana, but now lives in Chicago with her husband and very spoiled dog.

7 thoughts on “The Holidays and Sweet, Sweet Time

  1. This is so true. Novels are written in baby steps, hour by stolen hour. Or sometimes just twenty minutes at a time.

    Really hoping you get to finish that first draft over the long weekend!

  2. I love this: “Time is magic.” So true. It can transform small steps into something big, and make it seem like it didn’t take that much time, when all is said and done, after all.

  3. I hear you — I can’t for this Friday. A whole day I don’t usually get! My problem is that sometimes I squander my free time … That’s always my challenge because I’m naturally lazy. 🙂

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