All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Spring Returns! (It's About Time)

By the time most people read this post, it will officially be Spring, 2023. Now, plenty of people have different rules of thumb for when their personal spring really starts. Meteorological spring starts on March 1st. For sports fans, spring starts with the first spring training baseball game, or for others, the onset of March Madness. Maybe it's seeing the first robin of the year. Does it really matter? Well, for me, yes. I find all those things to be great precursors for spring, which officially arrives for me with the event now commonly called, "Chicago-henge."

Much like the infamous Stonehenge, downtown Chicago was designed a long time ago as an arrangement of a bunch of large, vertical slabs of stone in alignment with the cardinal directions. The NSEW directional map of the city made it easy to get from here to there (except for Lower Wacker Drive, which still baffles scientists), but this grid also provided a celestial calendar of sorts. At the beginning of spring and fall, the Sun rises and sets precisely at the end of the streets of downtown Chicago, without fail. Some believe this allowed city-dwellers a rare chance to see an actual sunset, and was therefore considered an amazing feat of urban planning. Others call it a curse from the gods because that meant they would have to drive home staring into a setting Sun. Whatever the case, it is an impressive event, and marks the beginning of a new season.

When I see the phenomenon known as Chicago-henge, my thoughts drift toward the opportunity to start something new. As the city enters a new season, it becomes the chance to take that bold step forward into whatever unknown realm interests you. I know that in six months, the Sun will shift back, place itself between the buildings again, and that particular window will again be closed, so I had best make the most of it. But as a writer, what does this mean and how can I take advantage of it?

Now, ancient Chicagoans used this time between mid-March and mid-September to mark the period in the city where baseball games had meaning, but for a writer, it's different. This is the time to plan out that big project, to explore that big idea, to join a workshop or develop a writing habit. This new season is your season to step into some new writing grooves and give yourself six months to see how it goes. Six months. That's not asking for much in the larger scope of things. And when the Sun comes back to mark the beginning of fall, you can reassess whether you want to try something new, or if you've caught ahold of something that just might be pretty special.

As for me, I am going to put together the structure for my next novel. I will do the outlining, the character-building, the world creation, and get things rolling. A lot of this won't involve writing in the narrative sense, but I am using this window to see what I can make of this opportunity. My other novel will be coming out in a month or two as well, but for now, the focus is what to do now that spring is here. And that's my commitment.

For those out there who aren't sure what to commit to, just make it something you want to do but always wondered whether or not you could. This isn't about succeeding or failing, it's about trying. Give yourself six months to try, and once Chicago-henge arrived, take inventory of what you've done.

And of course, there's always those six months around winter as well.

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