Monday, February 10, 2014

February Theme: Making the Most of a Short Month
By Marcia Thornton Jones

February is a messy mix with its snow, ice, rain, and slush. Heavy clouds blending with leafless limbs and damp pavement combine to form a landscape of gray, gray, and more gray. All of that, along with frigid temperatures that rattle my bones, makes staying in bed ever-tempting. But just when I think winter doldrums will never end, February is suddenly punctuated with pinpricks of yellows and purples. I don’t know why, but I’m always amazed by those first spring blooms even though it’s the same process every year. Crocus leads to daffodils then to tulips and finally to dazzling spring.

Lately I’ve been suffering through my own bleak doldrums of a writing kind that comes complete with nagging 3:00 a.m. litanies of self-doubt. A few weeks ago my friend Nancy suggested I face my fears by journaling about personal strengths that have been revealed through past experiences. Strengths that I can rely on for building future successes. Journals are such safe places, right? It’s okay to do a little tooting of one’s own horn. So I started jotting down lessons and insights learned. One statement stopped me cold.

I can trust process to reveal story.

I sat, staring at that sentence, and considered its inner truth.

That truth? I’m lazy. I want things to be easy. I expect plot to unravel like an old sock. Words to flow with no effort. Story to appear in complete form. But that’s not how writing worked for me before. In the past, my process involved false starts, meandering middles, tensionless plots; all accompanied by those too familiar 3:00 a.m. litanies of self-doubt. But I always kept writing through the doldrums until, amazingly, pinpricks of story essence began to poke through the muddled messes. Story was always revealed through the process.

Maybe some of you are feeling a bit like me. Your writing landscape is somewhat barren or your story has gone a wee bit cold. And maybe you have your own 3:00 a.m. litany of woes. If so, why not make the most of this short month by using your journal to do what I did. Identify past strengths and insights. Then use one or more to create a personal intention, mantra, or reminder that you already have what it takes to succeed.

As for me, I’m going to keep writing through the doldrums; remembering to trust process to reveal story. After all, crocus leads to daffodils and then to tulips and finally to dazzling spring. Always!


  1. Trust the process, trust the process, trust the process. Wish I could tattoo that on my forehead (backward) so I could see it every time I looked in the mirror. Thanks for the reminder.