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.