Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Mari L Barnes
I have been delighted by the IWC blog posts this month. Sarah and Julie illumined our memories and traditions, reminding us of the joy of this season of magic. Judy wrote of another kind of magic—that of communication and our ability to touch hearts and minds with our words.
I'd like to move in a slightly different direction. I am advocating—in the midst of this glorious time of love for all and peace on earth—love for self and peace of mind. That’s right, take a while to do something just for YOU.
As writers, we live in a whirlwind of should: I should be researching, writing, editing, querying. As humans, especially in this holiday season, our “shoulds” multiply like snowflakes in a storm: I should be shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, mailing, volunteering.
Take a while, maybe a whole hour or two, and enjoy that thing that made you want to be a writer in the first place. Pick up a book or open your favorite e-reader. Make it a sacred time with your favorite reading ritual. Settle down in the coziest spot, whether it’s bed, the bath or the Lazy Boy, and pour that perfect beverage. Mute the phone and close the laptop. Transport yourself to another world.
This is not the time for an audio book. We tend to enjoy them when we’re engaged in other pursuits like driving or folding laundry. To truly take advantage of your shelter in a blizzard of “shoulds,” you’ll want to devote this time to nothing but the pure pleasure that reading a good book provides.
Revisit an old favorite or finally dive into that new book you’ve been planning to read. My two Christmas favorites are Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. But, this year, I got new books from some IWC authors at the Steel Pen Conference, so I may indulge in one of those.
Merriam-Webster defines indulge as “to allow (yourself) to have or do something as a special pleasure” or “to take unrestrained pleasure in.” For a moment, indulge. Give yourself a gift. Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays to you.
The picture at the top of this post was drawn by Frank T. Merrill for the original edition of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. First published in 1868, the illustration is in the public domain because of its age.

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