It's time to sail toward the horizon of a new year.
That always means, for me, taking a brief hiatus from diving into deep water.
Instead, I'll dry off and sit on the edge of the shore and gaze out to sea.
In performing this end-of-year ritual, I'm always reminded of a comment one of my writing teachers shared with me years ago.
She compared the process of writing to drawing water from a well.
There comes a time in your own writing process, she said, when, having drawn from the well, you need to let the well replenish itself.
So, as the year comes to a close, I'll put aside my pen and paper and focus my eyes on the horizon.
I'll scan the sea for that place in the distance where the lines of old and new, known and unknown, converge, trying to see the future.
Perhaps, I'll immerse myself in a few of the many books that I set aside to read over the past year but haven't had the chance to open.
Maybe I'll doodle or sketch pen-and-ink scenes.
Or play connect-the-dots with my daughter.
Just to remember what it feels like to hold a pen in my hand and create a line on the page where nothing had been before.
And I'll remind myself that there are no rules to this business, except for doing whatever works to get words on paper.
And, as I let the well replenish itself, I'll look back over the past year in awe at the days that we sailed through to reach this moment.
In another few days we'll make our way into another year.
With luck, we'll continue searching the sea, diving into the deep water of our imagination, for more stories.
But for now, wherever you happen to be--whether diving in the warm water off Florida's coast, skiing over the frozen lakes of northern Wisconsin, or strolling along rivers or bays near your home in Ohio or California or Maine--take a moment to reflect on the year that has passed.
Look at how far you've come in your writing process!
What do you know now that you didn't know a year ago?
How has diving in this sea of words changed you?
Immerse yourself in this moment. Now.
Honor the process that has allowed you to reach this point in your journey.
And trust that many more stories await you in the year ahead.