Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Winter is Coming so Move Forward

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Sep• 07•17

Yesterday was the full moon, also called the harvest moon. I haven’t seen the moon since Saturday because nearby wildfires, more accurately the smoke and ashes from them,  have shrouded the moon and stars.  Our region is grayed by a perpetual dusk, ash is falling eerily, and the air is nearly unbreathable. Gazing around the gloom I’m reminded of scenes from Cormac McCarthy’s nightmare tale in The Road.  

Last weekend a kid shot off fireworks in a pristine wilderness in the Columbia River Gorge, setting fire to thousands of acres of forest including old growth trees. The region is in mourning for this jewel of the Northwest, though on day six of the inferno firefighters are gaining some control. Meanwhile, the whole state has been ablaze, more than 300,000 acres, especially in southern Oregon and we’re just weary around here. We’re ready for rain.

And then there is the constant litany of bad news:  scary, monster hurricanes wrecking havoc in the south Atlantic, Houston and Louisiana still recovering from devastating Hurricane Harvey. North Korea, a rogue nation with an unstable leader is firing off test missiles. Donald Trump seems to have no idea how to govern. Hard times, but you already know that.

I spent the Labor Day weekend mostly indoors (watering is my hobby this summer so there were many forays outdoors to salvage flowers and thirsty tomatoes) and used the indoor time to organize my office, clean out files, and toss out old paperwork. And while it might take a series of disasters to bring all my filing up to date, I’m making real progress.

This week kids are back in school and so the neighborhood is quieter until they spill out of the buses in the afternoon. Well, the neighborhood is quiet because no one is outdoors choking on the smoke. It was only a few weeks ago that we gathered to watch the eclipse and something primal and rare and powerful took over. Somehow I feel like the cosmic effects still linger, don’t you?  Like it was a celestial reset. A new beginning.

As summer dwindles into autumn perhaps you can hit ‘reset’ too. On your writing. You can amp up your stamina, pick up the pace, shake up your routine. Because time is running out  to achieve this year’s writing goals. Despite the dangerous weather, our shaky leadership, fires raging. Because if you cannot write through hard times then you’re not a writer.

It’s pretty simple. You need to move forward no matter what it takes. Tamp down your rage and sorrow and worry. Or write using it as fuel. Whatever it takes. You need to block out all the noise of our times. You need  to stop circling around your pain, your outrage, your worry. Because not writing makes all this crap worse.

Maybe you can start planning for NaNoWriMo. Sign up for a class. Outline a novel. Revise a draft. Sure, plan another picnic or barbecue or trip to the coast. And pick those ripening tomatoes. But time is marching forward, autumn is almost here and winter is coming. Sync yourself with the changing season, align with hope, not despair. Re-enlist your purpose for writing. Because writing just might save you.

Keep writing,  keep dreaming, have heart

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.