by Kendra Levin
It can be tough to be a creative artist during the holidays.
Whether you’re a writer or a painter, a composer or a choreographer, making your art requires time, focus, and a certain amount of mental quiet. None of these are in abundance during holiday time.
And 2016’s has been a particularly frazzling season for those who expected election day to bring relief instead of more stress. How can we possibly find the space to be creative between shopping and filing paperwork, between calling our reps and signing petitions, between going to holiday parties and falling down the social media rabbit hole?
But there’s more to making art than the moment of creation.
Today is the winter solstice—the shortest, darkest day of the year. Without the solstice and the ancient rites celebrating it, we wouldn’t have many of the best-loved traditions of the holiday season, including decorative wreaths and Christmas trees. In many ancient cultures, the winter solstice signified the birth of the year and a rebirth for celebrants.
Celebrating on this coldest, darkest day is a reminder to us all that winter and hibernation are an essential part of the cycle of creation. Without the chance to sleep in the soil, deep below the crust of frost, seeds would never be able to germinate, put forth tendrils, and ultimately turn into flowers, trees, crops. Celebrating the cold, the dark, the long night is a way of honoring the entire cycle of creation.
Artists need their creative winter to let ideas germinate and prepare for fruition as much as they need periods of expression. We need to give our art time to live its secret life under the surface before it comes out into the world.
So as you’re hustling around putting up decorations, buying gifts, preparing food, entertaining guests, or simply getting all your end-of-year paperwork in order, remember that you’re already storing up the seeds of ideas that will bear fruit in the new year. Perhaps they’ll emerge as a novel or a play, as poetry or a symphony, a sculpture or a painting. Or maybe your ideas will serve a cause, guide a movement for change, spark a revolution. Do not doubt that the seeds are already within you; give them the time they need to put forth roots.
Today is dark, but spring is just around the corner.
Kendra Levin is a certified life coach for writers, as well as a children’s book editor, teacher, and writer. Since 2008, she has helped writers and other creative artists all over the world meet their goals and connect more deeply with their work and themselves. She has been on the editorial staff at Penguin since 2005, editing all ages from picture books to young adult, and her books have received starred reviews and national awards. Kendra has taught classes for a range of populations from media professionals to prison inmates and has spoken at writers’ conferences and retreats in over twenty states. Her theatrical works have been produced Off- and Off-Off Broadway and regionally, and her eclectic professional writing credits include celebrity speeches, a bar guide, and Mad Libs. Her home base is New York City. Follow her @kendralevin or visit her at www.kendracoaching.com.