“This month is crazy!”
“I’m so busy, I can’t even enjoy Christmas!”
“I have so much to do I’ll never get it all done!”
(If it doesn’t, you can scootch yourself right on over to my house for some holiday assignments!)
I’m a victim of Martha-itis when it comes to Christmas. No, not Bible Martha, Martha Stewart. (Although she certainly fits the Martha role… can’t you see Ms. Stewart tugging at Jesus’ sleeve during His message and insisting her sister come and help her in the kitchen?)
All year long I’m drawn to crafts and projects and decorating ideas and homemade Christmas cards and the like, only to find myself smack dab in the midst of December sans a plan. (That’s French for “without,” in case you were wondering.)
This December, I’m giving up on planning and turning to plotting.
I’m a writer, I can plot. Right? Sure, I can! And so can you.
Set up some scenes. The tree-decorating scene, the gingerbread house-making scene, the fill-in-the-blank outdoor activity scene (because I won’t be participating), the office party scene, the candlelight Christmas Eve service scene, the shopping for stocking stuffers scene (because if I do any other shopping it will be online), and so forth. You can look at your December calendar and lay out your own plot.
The problem we have is when our scenes are interrupted by unexpected events, unannounced characters, and surprising twists. When those things occur as I’m writing, I enjoy them. I know the story is moving along, bringing my characters closer to the resolution of their internal conflicts.
In real life when those things occur I tend to kick and scream and throw stuff.
So what if I were to approach this month with a novelist’s mindset? Having the general framework in my head, but willing to let the details “fall where they may” instead of scheduling every moment of every day for myself and every member of my family? Carrying out the month of December — Advent, a time for preparing oneself for Christ’s soon return — from the POV as my life’s main character instead of narrator. Instead of being traumatized by the unexpected, I’d be invigorated… looking for the next exciting turn in the story.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by December’s activities (like I have been) just step back, pretend you are your own main character, and lay out your plot for the month, with plenty of room for the twists and turns that are certain to come!
See you next month!
(That would be Wednesday.)