Wednesday, January 28, 2015

winter cold and writing chills


The dark evening and mornings of winter are hard on me. Hard because there's a chill in the air and all I want is to wear flannel pajamas and fluffy slippers and lay under the soft pressure of my down comforter. Alas, life does not stop in winter, so I must drag myself out of bed, into the cold, crisp air, pretending I don't mind the coolness of the world. 

And so it is the same with writing lately. 

Sitting and working through the 50,000 words that came from #NaNoWriMo wrapped in my coziest flannels and a warm blanket while sipping on my second mug of morning coffee, I find comfort. There is comfort in the safety of my dream, knowing the words are powerful, feeling proud of the work at hand, cozy in the process of it all. A comfort that is only so, until I must drag myself out of the comfort of solitary work and share. Until I open the door for the chill of an opinion in to shake my approval seeking soul. 

I sent my first two chapters to my mom this weekend. We were on our long weekend run and she offered to read. I'm a good reader, she said. And that, I knew. I was shy, said yes and made excuses about lack of context, messy tense, run-on sentences and poor work choice. She was gracious, as always, and let the offer stand in a future place. 

The more I considered her offer, the colder the outside chill of opinion seemed. I knew the door needed to be opened, the comfort at the wayside, the refinement starting now -quick and abrupt like removing a bandaid. And, quite honestly, who better to read the barest of words than the woman who birthed me? She seemed to be the best to be the first, like she'd be kind, she knew creation, she wouldn't tear me to shreds. 

So, I threw off the covers of solitude and sent her chapters one and two with all the nerves in the land.

Two hours later she gave me some feedback while I was in the dredges of another chapter of edits. And the chill creeped in, like fog over the hills. I questioned my purpose, my words, the depth of my message. I sat frustrated in all the handwritten notes and word corrections I'd made in the last half hour. I wanted to give up, to crawl back to my comfortable space. 

"There's promise there most certainly."

It was a simple text flashing across the screen of my phone. A confident encouragement. It ignited my hands and made me unafraid of the mess. It was the vote of confidence I craved. Because a kind word is like flannel for our comfort-seeking souls. 

For the writer, the blogger, the reader, the wife. For the hostess, the manager, the part planner, the stay at home mom. We need kind words to remind us, to bolster us up, to bring out the warmth despite a cold winter storm.

16 comments:

  1. Love you, love this. I understand completely, and I can't wait to read your beautiful words!

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  2. I'm so glad it gave you the encouragement you needed! It's terrifying giving your writing to someone for feedback, but so many times it's exactly what we need.

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  3. This. Just what my heart needed. I'm a words of affirmation girl. I NEED that to survive, to get through, to push forward. Your words matter, my dear. We need to hear them, so keep going.

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  4. This is so beautiful, and such a good metaphor.

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  5. glad i could be your flannels & old friend slippers. there is not higher compliment, especially in chill of our nights as of late!

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  6. You're so right. Kind words are so meaningful and beneficial, I wish people weren't so reluctant to give them out sometimes! Some kind words of my own, to you - you can definitely do this. You're an awesome writer <3

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  7. I love this! I often feel like the terror of having others read my work is the price I pay for the therapy of writing it, but then I remember that it's not just for me, and that anything worth doing takes courage.
    Thank you for the reminder to be an encouragement to someone today!

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  8. Absolutely amazing. It is so hard to hear the feedback to something so personal but I know that she did it with so much love and pride. It's going to be amazing and we will all be ready to read when you are ready to share.

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  9. It is SO terrifying. And yet so terrifically rewarding. It helps that the first time of exposure was with someone so dear to me. :)

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  10. YES. Why are we so reluctant? I realize that I second guess myself when I'm complimenting someone FAR more often than when I'm going to correct them... WHY?


    You are the dearest Suzy. Just, dear.

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  11. It is so hard to put words you cherish deeply (and have invested yourself in) out there for others to opine on, but I've also realized that the community words can create is SO real and SO beautiful and SO, keep on.

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  12. No friend is as dear to me as you.

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  13. Girl, your message is gorgeous... Only to be outshined by the beauty of your heart. I need to hear from you. ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

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  14. I cannot wait to read your words. I know doubt sneaks up on them, but say no and write on my fierce-writing friend!

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  15. So absolutely this: "I often feel like the terror of having others read my work is the price I pay for the therapy of writing it." Like 200 times yes to this because it's so terrifying and yet so relieving and yet so ALL THE FEELINGS. :)

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  16. Thank you. Oh, my dear goodness, thank you!

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Feel free to share with me... In fact, your words do more for me than mine for you.

I reserve the right to remove negative interactions... This is a space to share, to inspire, to laugh, and to cry - while everyone is entitled to an opinion, no one is entitled to spread hurtful words.

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