Procrastination, Celebration, and Hibernation: Seasons of A Writer’s Life

‘Twas the season.

That’s what they say, right? We’ve just ended a season of candlelight, cookies, giving, worship, family, faith, friendship, peppermint mocha lattes.

Now the New Year has arrived, and ’tis the season for resolutions, reflection, diets, new leaves, saying goodbye to old habits, embracing new, healthier ones.

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I’ve come to realize that much of life is seasonal. Especially for me.

Perhaps it’s because my first careers have been in the school setting. As a special education teacher and then a school-based speech-language pathologist, I’ve followed the seasons dictated by a typical school calendar. Off in the summer, back-to-school in the fall, rejoicing over snow days in the winter, celebrating growth and graduation in the spring. Shake. Stir. Repeat.

Or maybe it’s because I married into the farm life. On a working farm, everything revolves around the seasons. Spring planting, summer hay and straw baling, fall harvest, winter shop work. Shake. Stir. Repeat.

I’ve read a lot blogs/interviews about writers who insist they must “write ___ hours every day.” They write faithfully from “____ o’clock to ____ o’clock.” It’s their groove. It’s how they work.

Not me.

Because, for me, even writing is seasonal. My writing seasons have names: Creation. Submission. Promotion. Procrastination. Celebration. Hibernation.

Right now, I’m just coming off a season of Promotion.

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This year, I had middle grade books release in April, September, and October. After 5 years of no new releases, this was an amazing year, no doubt. Those who don’t know the publishing world ask, “Why did you schedule them so close together?”

Bahahahahahaha! Once I stop laughing hysterically, I try to explain that authors don’t get to schedule a book release. No, there are publishers, editors, marketing folks, book designers and perhaps even divine beings who weigh in on these decisions.

But, lest I sound ungrateful, let me say that I have loved everything about this season of Promotion. I met incredible young readers, older readers, booksellers, librarians, teachers and parents. I visited storied places like The Bookstall in Winnetka, IL and Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville. I returned to Rockford, IL, the home of the Rockford Peaches and reunited with wonderful folks who were so helpful while researching Kammie on First.

Like all seasons, though, this one has come to an end. And just as fall has stepped aside for winter, I’m done promoting (for the time being)  and ready for what’s next: Creation.

Creation is going to require some Hibernation on my part. Even though I don’t prescribe to the “___ hours of writing every day” theory, I am a sold-out believer in Jane Yolen’s “butt in chair” theory. And on the farm, there’s no better season for hibernation than the dead of winter.

Waiting for spring.

How about you?

What season are you in? Creation? Submission? Celebration? Promotion?  Procrastination?  Whatever your season, embrace it.  Because, like all seasons, this season of your writing life will soon change.

Michelle Houts lives, writes, and plays on a family farm in Ohio. She and The Farmer of Her Dreams are raising children, cattle, hogs, goats, a whole lot of barn cats and a Great Pyrenees named Hercules. Find Michelle on the web at www.michellehouts.com, here on Facebook, and on Twitter as @mhoutswrites.

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Michelle Houts
Michelle Houts writes middle-grade, chapter books, and picture books from a restored one-room schoolhouse near her home. She loves reading, mail, farming, and birds. Michelle visits schools and libraries to share writing excitement with future authors. To find out more and to learn about Michelle's 52Letters Challenge, visit www.michellehouts.com
8 Comments
  1. My favorite MG in quite awhile is WinterFrost. What a charming book. Thanks so much for writing it. Unfortunately for me, I have been in the procrastination season for quite some time. 8-( I’m hoping to move on to another season soon. I enjoyed your post. Thanks.

    • It’s every author’s dream that their book might someday be someone’s “favorite in quite awhile!” Thanks, Rosi! And no one stays in any one season forever! Good luck as you find what’s next!

  2. LOVE this! And I so agree. 🙂

    • Thanks, Elizabeth! Happy writing seasons to you!

  3. Yes, butt in chair and heart on paper. I’m always more or less in that stage. Congrats, Michelle, and welcome to the blog!

    • I’m happy to be here, Tricia! Thanks! Heart on paper… love that!

  4. You motivate me!!!!

    • Love to hear this, Marjie! We need to cheer for our writing comrades!