It’s that time of year when the light changes.
Even in Florida, where writers are accustomed to the sun shining brightly all year long, the days are growing shorter.
Over the next few months, we'll watch as the light turns from highly burnished gold to a subtle shade of bronze, and we'll gaze in wonder as this honey-colored light seems to melt from the sky.
In the weeks ahead, as Thanksgiving approaches, followed by the December holidays and a new year, time itself will feel like it is slowing down, much like a river winding its way gently through the lowlands toward the sea in casual and easy S-curves, its current exploring the banks along its edges rather than rushing past in a straight, tumultuous line intent on reaching its destination.
Each year at this time nature reminds us all--storytellers and poets, dramatists and journalists, bloggers and essayists, every one of us who swim in words throughout the year--that it’s time to slow down, to re-examine where we’re going and where we’ve been.
The light inspires reflection rather than action.
Instead of forging ahead with a new idea or developing a manuscript in its initial stages, we might step back and ask what we’re doing.
Are we writing the kind of stories that we want to write, or are we only going through the motions because we think it's what the market wants?
Have we given our hearts fully to a project or are we holding something back, still hesitant to commit ourselves emotionally?
Are we too serious in our attempts to write or not serious enough?
Do we spend most of the day procrastinating, afraid to put pen to paper, constantly seeking new ways to avoid writing?
Do we make excuses? Do we create obstacles that only exist in our minds?
When was the last time you came to your desk feeling joy and enthusiasm rather than fear and discontentment, pleasure rather than dissatisfaction?
Can you recall the last time you wrote with abandon, watching the words fly onto the page from a pen that you could barely keep up with?
How can you infuse your work with this kind of passion, energy, enthusiasm, optimism, honesty?
And how can you keep at bay whatever might stand in the way of your work?
As the earth turns away from the sun and the days grow shorter, I’ll be reflecting on these and other questions.
All of us want to be able to keep writing for many years.
To keep writing, though, we have to remember that we are not writing machines but human beings who are part of the rhythms of life.
We need time to think and space to dream.
So, why not take the time you need now?
As the light wanes, slow down.
Reflect on where you've been... and where you'd like to go.
Offer gratitude for all the words that you've written--published or unpublished--over the past year.
Give thanks for all the words in your heart, and for the gift that lets you tell stories and write poems.
As the days grow shorter, savor the light.
And let it inspire dreams of what you’d like to write in the days ahead.