Santa may get his jollies out of Mrs. Claus (with her little fur tassels) and cookies and milk. Okay, all that AND bringing big smiles to good girls and boys, not to mention being beloved by millions.
But what's it take to make a writer jolly? Here's my list of those year-round gifts for which I'm most grateful. Feel free to add some of your own.
1. Peace on Earth, or at least my little corner. A drama-free marriage and family life enhances productivity like nothing else I know.
2. Three wise friends, minimum. Who needs myrrh and incense when you can have the counsel, support, and camaraderie of writing pals and critique buddies? I'm happy to say I've exceeded the minimum many times over.
3. A Star in the East, to light my path and harness my creativity. My star -- my agent -- helps me keep my course and occasionally saves me from myself (or at least my more hare-brained ideas.)
4. The elves, God love 'em, to help with the hard, detailed, and (yes, Virginia) magical work of making a manuscript into a book and getting it into the hands of readers. These valued allies (the Fellowship of the Book) range from editors to copy editors to members of the art department, those in sales, and all the wonderful booksellers and librarians.
5. A few good reindeer games, to remind me that writing's *supposed* to be fun.
6. The open-mindedness to take whatever lumps of coal this business slips inside my stocking and use them to stoke my creative fires instead of burning out my will to work.
7. A grain of salt to balance out the sugar in whatever Christmas cookies come my way in the form of honors.
8. Lots and lots of Carols. And Lindas and Susans and Annes and Kathys and readers by any other name. May I never lose sight of the fact that they're out there, plunking down their hard-earned money for the chance to read my stories. May I never indulge myself at their expense and lose the faith entrusted to me.
Thanks to each and every one of you, and to those of you who stop by the blog and share my journey as well as Joni's. I'll be taking a few days away from the desk, but I wish all of you the merriest of Christmases and the happiest and most productive of New Years.