Friday, December 25, 2009

The Liminal Zone, Day 1

It's said that the ancient Romans celebrated the new year as an eight day celebration, an eight day week that was considered to be the thresh hold between the years - a time apart from time. In this period you are outside of ordinary boundaries, so you celebrate, reflect, break rules and do special things.

So every year I celebrate the Liminal Zone - eight days from Christmas Eve to New Years Day (inclusive of both). This year we get a bonus, because New Year's happens on a Friday, so in effect, the liminal zone is ten days long.

So for these next ten days, I'm going to make like the door keeper god, Janus, and look back and forward.

We start with the dare that just ended yesterday. No, I did not reach my goal, but I am not displeased. Setting the right goal is so important, and I think I did set the right goal. The first criterion is whether I wrote more than I would have if I hadn't been doing a dare, and that answer is certainly yes. Fall is a horrible time for me to write. I always start the season really in the mood, because I love the weather. (I know, most people hate Michigan in fall. It is generally dark and dreary, with overcast skies and mold and humidity. But I always find it energizing.)

But fall semester always begins with the nightmare of new computer set ups, new policies, new students, and MORE students. We spend much of fall fixing all of the above so that spring will go better. The holidays also mix in a lot more social duties and such, and that takes up spare time. The best movies get released that time of year.

It can be extremely discouraging to try to get much writing done in the Fall. And nothing is worse than setting goals you have no hope of achieving. The goal I set this fall was one I've achieved before, so I knew it was reasonable. I figured it was ambitious for fall, and I was right. I did not achieve it, but I also did not flounder and fail and give up.

What I accomplished was not a particular word count, but rather I have established critical mass on this novel. I have done that basic exploratory work that allows the story to come to life. That's the great thing a dare can do for you, more than anything else, I think. A dare forces you to dig deep and keep writing - and you almost have to go off on tangents and try things out, just to keep the words coming. They force you to go deeper.

Tomorrow I'll post some goals I have for this Liminal Zone. Happy holidays to all.

No comments: