Imbolc (ewe's milk) is when we get our first lambs as it is the traditional time for lambing in the Celtic lands from where the celebration originated. Our ewes are heavily pregnant in the days before February 2. We wait for those first little sounds from the newborns, the crooning of the mothers. We hope to not hear the lost sound of a lamb where no mother is speaking back to it.
See how heavily laden she is-- so ready with the weight of that belly as it has dropped-- photo taken January 31, 2013
Besides longer days and new growth and life, this is a time of creativity in a spiritual and an inner sense or so the sages say. We can dream dreams with these long nights but the gradually increasing day's length means activity is about to burst forth. We can think about what is within and find ways to bring it out. Suggestions for Imbolc are reciting poetry, lighting candles, starting new plants, or gathering in circles.
I saw an interesting topic in the MOA (Meet Our Author's) at Amazon. Well the topic wasn't but something that arose within was.-- how long does it take to write a book? Some asserted that if it did not take a year, then the book wasn't worthy. Others felt that someone who turns out say five books in a year has to be doing inferior work. One suggested that if a person worked a 12-hour day, there was no way there would be time for writing a novel. I put a brief comment there but decided I'd prefer to expand on it here as it is part of creativity and bringing forth our own light.
Basically I can address this from where it comes to my own writing and what I have heard others say about theirs. Yes, some take years to write their books while others, with equal skill, can bring out several books in a year. Some people have written only one masterpiece and it was finally recognized as such when they were in old age-- thinking Helen Hooeven Santmyer's-- And the Ladies of the Club or Norman Maclean's, The River Runs Through It. Not that it took them a lifetime to write the one great book, but it took that long to have it recognized.
There are traditionally published authors who write under several names to avoid having readers think they are writing too much. They might write under different genres for the same reason or because it's fun to vary what they do.
So my opinion is that if someone has an idea for a book and knows its trajectory, they can easily write 1000 words a night if nighttime is all they have for their own fiction. The catch, of course, is to have that initial idea. Sometimes long hours at work drains the creative juices. It's not the time to write that is lacking. It's the time to work out the fictional plot and characters.
If they wrote 1000 words a day, varying it a bit, they would have their rough draft in a couple of months. Then would come editing, editing and re-editing. If they wish to go the traditional route, they then have to write a query letter, synopsis and maybe outline to interest a publishing house or agent in their work. I won't say it's easy to do this when working long hours but it's not impossible-- if the person has that initial idea and knows where it's going.
As for me, I often go days writing nothing where it might seem nothing is happening on my book idea, but it's going through a lot of phases in my head or in notes. When I am writing, I can easily do 5000 words in a day. But then I need to reread and think about where that got the story and whether it worked. It was not hard at all with A Montana Christmas to write so fast because I knew those characters and where the story was a novella, it didn't have the complexity of a full length novel.
My current work in progress has taken characters I knew vaguely from a prior story but had to get to know them a LOT better. I began writing their interactions, what they were doing, who else they were involved with, when did they laugh, when did they cry, and as that unfolded, so did more and more of the story. Although i have the time to spend a day writing, I don't have that every day.
On those days I am busy elsewhere, i think about these characters and where they might be at the time. I think about them most especially right before bed as I consider what they did that day and where might that lead them. It's easy in such a time of intense writing to lose track of my own life if I don't make the effort to stay in touch with 'me.'
A lot of what I write has been fully formulated before I sit at the keyboard but I am open to changing something if the next step reveals what came before was a mistake. It's so easy with the computer versus the days when all of what I wrote was done on a typewriter, one of those lovely old black ones where you had to strike the keys hard. If I wanted to readjust things with it, it required cutting apart paragraphs and taping them into new places. Love the modern world where it comes to tools that help creating happen faster and easier.
If you are wanting to write fiction but haven't yet done it, think of the story that is in your head, the nuances, the additional parts you might be able to flesh out, use the darkness of these long nights for that but then start writing. A thousand words a day is not a bad goal as it's pretty easy to do. Even if your ideas don't seem like much, write them down-- one thing often leads to another. You can assess its value later. The main thing for those who want to write is-- write.
Fame or recognition, sales or popularity, that might never come. They aren't what make you a writer. Some might think it's all about the money or being a great artist in your writing abilities. Nope. It's that you write. Now being an author, having that recognition, that might take something else but to be a writer only means one thing-- you are one who writes.
May Imbolc give you some of that light and glow to get your own work going.