‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.