Victoria Advocate, A Different Perspective
Even as we head into the hustle and bustle of holiday season, and Thanksgiving is in our rearview mirror, I find I have much to be grateful for. Lots happened in November. Chief on the list was the first draft of a novella.
Writing a novella was a first for me, and the much shorter word count was a definite perk. A novella is in the thirty-thousand-word range, whereas a novel is anywhere from seventy-five to ninety-five thousand—two or three times as long. I used Nanowrimo, an online writing support group for the first time as well. It keeps track of daily word count with the added benefit of a buddy system. At the end of an afternoon writing session, it was fun to see how my writer friends had fared. I quickly fell into a pattern of writing a thousand words a day—five double-spaced typewritten pages.
Only part of my success had to do with sitting down and getting the actual writing done. The other part was the pre-documents I’d worked on the previous month. Pre-writing tasks are boring, but they made the difference between sticking with it and quitting. Most people quit because they have an idea, but it’s not fleshed out enough to meet a word count.
I averaged six writing days a week, writing four-five hours a day. Some experienced authors write much faster, and others are happy to hit 500 words in a session. A hard thing all authors cope with is the inner critic. I’ve learned to give myself permission to do it badly just to get it on paper, because editing as you go is a great way to never finish. When I finished the last chapter on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and met my word count, I was ready to celebrate.
Our family Thanksgiving dinner and the time we all spent together was extra-special. When my daughter and I gazed at the leftovers, it was obvious we’d made enough for twice as many people. The young cousins played while adults watched Dallas beat the Giants. Sweetest of all was the chorus of children saying goodbye to Gigi, their great grandmother. The weather might have been dismal, but we managed walks in between the rain showers and various rounds of snacks. A good time was had by all—we have much to be thankful for.
Chief among my reasons to be thankful is the story of Christmas. While most movie specials revolve around the gift-giving aspect of Christmas, the actual meaning gets lost in rampant consumerism. When my children were small and first heard the story of Christmas, a baby in a manger made a lot more sense than Santa Claus, reindeer, and a band of elves who lived at the North Pole.
In truth, God sent his son to earth as a human baby. It doesn’t get more sci-fi than that, but the accounts are too similar to chalk up to faulty research, and too many witnesses for it to be a hoax.
The apostle Luke said it best in his gospel: “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’” (Luke 2:9-14, NAS)
To all my readers: Merry Christmas!