Hibernating is something that bears do in the wintertime. It’s also something I do when I’m seriously writing. But unlike bears, I haven’t quite stored up enough fat to last several weeks, so I do come out for food. It means unplugging from social media, saying “no” when I would ordinarily say “yes,” and gracefully declining invitations.
I hibernate in my favorite chair with my laptop and endless glasses of water and cups of tea.
Writing is consuming. I’m surrounded by characters in trouble and situations begging to be resolved. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. A character may wake me at four o’clock in the morning with something that needs to be said. I tell you the truth, writers of fiction hear voices. We hear them, and we write them down and call it dialogue.
Writing is work. It means sitting for hours in the same position, struggling to find THE word, not just A word. It’s hours upon hours of research, making certain the details are absolutely, unquestionably accurate.
Writing is an escape. If one lives in South Texas in August, even out in the Hill Country, it’s hot. So why wouldn’t I want to hibernate in my cuddle chair and write about a blizzard in Santa Fe?
I can smell THE END, and I rush to the finish line. Only a few more thousand words, and then I’ll say goodbye to characters who have lived with me for the last few months. I’ll close the door to an inn whose halls I have walked and whose woods I’ve hiked in all my imagining. I have felt the bitter chill, smelled the fire, tasted the fry bread and brought resolution to some tangled lives. THE END is a good feeling, especially when (even though I dare not say it) they lived happily ever after.
And like the bear who’s beginning to stretch, open his eyes, and peek outside, I’m peeking out a bit this afternoon. I’m stretching and thinking about getting acclimated to the real world soon.