Be Still

I just had a call with my writing critique partner, Kelly, so we could set our goals for the New Year. Both of us are fighting miserable colds and physical ailments. Both of us are feeling the effects of the darkness of winter, the empty tree branches, the bitter blasts of cold. Both of us are incapable of writing at the moment for different reasons, personal reasons.

I can’t speak for Kelly, but I find it extremely hard to forge ahead on another writing piece until the current work in progress is complete. I’m waiting for feedback from my editor, my beta readers, and book clubs, and the protracted silence from these readers feels like a circle of hell. It’s not easy putting the baby out in the world, so every day between right now and when the first readers deliver their feedback feels like an eternity.

As we spoke of these things in our goal setting session we arrived at a beautiful place of acceptance. Acceptance of what this time is.

We are in sync with the season.

Sometimes you need to embrace the time of darkness, reflection, and quiet. Illness forces stillness, and sometimes it is the absolute only way to make a person sit still.

So we promised each other, until our bodies work through the sickness and we are fully awake, we will not start the next project.

We gave each other permission to be still.

Do you have a writing critique partner or group? I can’t tell you how priceless and even necessary it is to have someone with whom to share ideas in your writing, how important it is to have someone else’s work to read–who will read your work–regularly. Or even to have someone to remind you to stop and wait and be still and embrace the dormant time that comes before the spring.


6 thoughts on “Be Still

  1. Jen Erickson says:

    Stillness. The word baffles me a bit, but being sick is a stop sign in your life you can’t ignore! I’ve always found the friendships I have been blessed with were the best sort of collaborators, motivators and share what’s in your refrigerators. All the best in mind, body and soul. Hope you are feeling better soon and when it’s time to put the pen to the page you will be energized with spring fever-like creativity!

  2. It sounds like you have a great thing going with your partner. And I think it is great that you are allowing yourself, each other, a break from the writing. You have been working so hard since your workshop this summer that it is well deserved.

    Hope you feel better soon!


  3. Frume Sarah says:

    What an important lesson you have shared. I imagine many of us have a similar internal force, propelling us forward and forward and forward…until our body demands a break. The notion of giving ourselves permission –ahead of illness– is so healthy.

    You also explain why a trusted journey-partner is so important.

    Get the rest you need…and be well.

  4. Erika Robuck says:

    Thank you for your comments and well wishes!

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