January 30, 2014

Brrrr... by Susan Barclay

As I write this, we're in the midst of another January cold snap. The urge to hibernate is strong, but since I have a part-time job outside the home and am part of a car-pool for getting my son to school, it's not an option. If I had my 'druthers', I'd be somewhere warm, soaking up the sun. Instead I find myself surfing the net, looking for inexpensive trips south, knowing I can't possibly go anywhere before the end of April. And even then, not somewhere far away.

Work on my writing progresses well. I blog regularly and tweet often. At the end of November I reread my WIP and wrote the pivotal scene. I've since gone back to the beginning for revisions and am all the way up to chapter four. Considering how much my writing has improved since I began my novel (ten years ago, cough, cough), the reworking of it is a pleasure and will no doubt provide a better experience for future readers.

It's true, while I haven't shut myself away, my novel has enjoyed lengthy periods of hibernation. I started off strong, but then hit a certain point in the plot; let's call it a cold spell. I knew where things were going to end up; I just didn't know how I was going to get there. So I wrapped it in blankets and focused on other projects, including picture books, short stories and personal experience pieces. From time to time I'd hit on an idea, pull back the covers of my novel, try out some thoughts, and put it to bed again.

You see, hibernation isn't just good for bears, skunks and other animals. It can also be good for your writing. Much like a nap refreshes and restores, a writing break gives your brain a chance to percolate and drum up new, or better, material. When your imagination wakes up like this, you're back on a roll. And how exciting and adrenalin-pumping is that?!

Don't be afraid of putting your work to sleep for a while. It's not going anywhere. It'll be there when you're ready to get back to it, and no doubt better than it was before.

Now I think I'll go back to sleep for a while. Baby, it's cold outside!


For more of my writing, please visit my website at www.susan-barclay.ca


  1. Susan, I'm glad to hear your revisions are goiing well. It is interesting to go back to work we did a while ago and see the differences in writing style and ability. Keep up the good work :)

  2. Susan,
    I have been hibernating with a sick grandchild this week. We even went outside for a few minutes in the cold - we needed to get out.
    Today he is back in daycare and I am going for a walk in the cold but sunny Ontario weather.
    I do have the blessing to return to my hubby who has been soaking up the sun for me in Arizona.
    But I have had a marvellous time even with the brr.

    Yes - these 2 weeks away from my computer have been a blessing. THey have taught me I can lessen my time on the computer and still stay connected.

    Janis www.janiscox.com #ICWriters

  3. An interesting post that I enjoyed reading. Good luck with your novel.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

  4. I hear you, Susan. My husband and I just returned from a trip to Cape Coral Florida. It wasn't as warm as one might expect but warm enough to us. I could hibernate there for a while longer.

    I too have stories that I've worked on and set aside when the word faucet seems to run dry. Pulling them back out for another go around usually does work well.

  5. Susan,

    I like what you said about not being afraid to put our work to sleep for a while, because it'll be there when we're ready to get back to it.

    Thank you for that.... because that is what I'm doing right now. Just being bold to set some things aside without fear.

    Enjoyed your posting very much!

    Blog Moderator

  6. I like your "bed" metaphor. I too have to let my writing rest sometimes but it's still mulling around in the back of my brain. Then, the Spirit will bless me with an inspiration and I have to go write. I love the way God does that.

  7. Thanks for your encouragements and for sharing your personal stories on the subject of setting your work aside for a season. It's always good to hear from others who have a similar experience (helps us writers not feel so alone) or who are blessed by a post. Connie, I love the way God does that, too :)

  8. Your message reminds me that there's a season for everything. Thanks!


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