Don’t resist the rest you need this time of year… use the time to think ahead. I have writing advice, as always, at the bottom. But let me start with a mental image about January…
I am imagining a chrysalis wrapped in layers to protect a tiny caterpillar from aggravating weather; the wind, the rain, the cold. I imagine the hardships of her short past, good and bad, can be exhausting to carry. Perhaps there are things she can’t imagine letting go, times of sunshine and joy filling her belly. She may have experiences she wishes to forget, those life-threatening close-calls in a rough and dangerous world. But then again, everything she has endured has brought her to this branch, this leaf, this point in her life. From the outside of her wrap, she may appear still against the elements, she may look as though she has given in. But trust that she is alive inside.
January is becoming a chrysalis time for me. As I sit this morning recovering from illness the last couple of days, I realize this analogy. My Christmas tree is still standing tall, bright with is festive cheery lights, hopeful with candy canes and passed-down ornaments. But, the packages that trimmed its skirt are gone. Everything opened and discovered, the tempting wrap and bows discarded away. Even the cold weather that I appreciated in December feels awful now. During the beginning months of winter, I look forward to bundling up with boots and mittens and hats. But January… January is just cold (and in Seattle, wet).
It would be easy to feel depressed, and slow, and negative during these last months of winter. If anything, I tend to feel more overwhelmed at the resolutions or goals I’ve deemed for myself months ago. Then, I realize January has me wrapped up tight. The weather has been bad, everyone I know has a cold or virus. So, I stop resisting.
I decide to become the chrysalis.
I am going to let this time of year be a quiet time of renewal. You won’t find me out there changing my life in 30 days. But, as I wiggle and turn in my chrysalis, I hope to build better habits. I will buff and polish all that I am on the inside. And maybe this means I stretch out an arm and take on something small and new to improve myself. For me, I could add in an extra Pilates class. Maybe I take that idea from my writing group, and choose one day a week to send out my work. Surely, I can say kind things to myself in the mirror, and to others I pass by. I could think all kinds of positive thoughts to fill up my space inside this tight little cocoon-like covering. I am fairly certain it would be time well spent.
And why not? Most of us are overly busy the rest of the year. We need a forced down-time to fill up again, to take care of ourselves for a change. I think January might be the best month to do this. It is cold and wet and slow… well, except for my readers on the other side of the world. You will have to write to me about your Januarys. The contrast might be refreshing. But for me this January, I will wriggle and twist about in layers of hats and scarves, in my warm blankets by the fire, or in my bed all day on a Saturday… and I won’t feel guilty! I am thinking, resting… renewing my heart, my mind, and my soul.
And finally, when my renewal time ends, and this chrysalis breaks open… I will have wings!
Writing Advice: Groups
Join a writing group! Join several. One of my goals this past year was to intentionally improve myself as a writer. To do that, I joined an online writing group. This was a scary decision for me, but I took a risk and put myself out there. Quiet at first, I watched what other writers were posting. What were they posting about? Were the responses to their posts supportive and helpful? I began to post myself. Wow, what I found were other writers like me, from all over the world. I now belong to several online writing groups that are all different. I belong to some for writing poetry, and some for writing fiction. I like them all for assorted reasons, and I have my favorite, of course. One stands out as the place I post almost daily. It’s the place I feel like I am finding my tribe. But, I wouldn’t have found any of these writers or their inspiration had I not put myself out there and joined their groups to begin with.
As you are resting in your own chrysalis this January, you might peruse a few writing groups online. Click their “about” link and see which ones speak to you. Then, take a leap of faith. One will often lead to others. It’s all about growth, and hopefully soon, flight.
My new goal this year is to join some live-time writing groups or classes. I am already investigating the surrounding cities to my own to locate a few. I finally feel ready to talk face to face with other writers. I will keep you posted, as this blog is all about my writing journey, and share what I find.
For now, wrap up and do a little soul searching. Rest as you are looking forward to your new year. Stop resisting your chrysalis and renew!
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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