A Writer’s Letter to Santa
What a writer wants for Christmas isn’t quite the same as what a normal person needs. Since our minds and choice of profession are all twisty-bendy, we need more unusual presents. Stop me if I run on about how we are—but we tend to go on ranty-rants and if we lose focus for more than a millisecond, we’ll fly totally off the map.
First, we would like a comfy chair. I swear the quality of our writing depends upon our seat cushion and lower lumbar support. Really it does, Santa. You have no idea how many times characters we’ve written end up having back-aches and numb butt-cheeks because we get all mixed up in the head, or bottom—whatever.
This next present we want could be a little tricky. But, since you can visit every child in the world in twenty-four hours, we thought you could handle it. We’d like to be able to slip through the cracks in time. Writer’s honor, we won’t mess with the time stream or change history. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for us to do the whole job-thing and still make a decent word count. We’d gladly ditch the job and write if there wasn’t for needing to eat food, and to have a roof to put our chair under. Also please don’t have the time-slipping thing depend in any way upon reindeer poop. Because—eww.
Speaking of time, could we get one whole week on the beach, or in the mountains, or somewhere really nice? We’d like to be by ourselves with not a care in the world and our laptops. If you could slip a full-blown plot of awesome into our dreams the night before, that would also be way cool.
And speaking of plots, we’d like a magical outline jar, and a magical synopsis jar, and a magical query jar. Then we could be right brained without all of that nasty jumping about from one side to the other. Oh, and we’ll need an elf to handle all of the math. Could you spare one—for each of us—please with cupcakes on top?
Now that we have fingers that type magical manuscripts fasters than ponies run, some of us need an agent. (On a personal note, thanks so much for Deidre Knight. That was the best Christmas ever!) We only need one each, and they should be all sparkly, and shiny, and totally lovable. Mostly we need someone who believes in us, and who will give us a swift kick in the pants when we need it.
If an agent isn’t doable, could you copy/paste all of their contract experience into our brains, please?
A few of us (okay a whole lot of us) could use a great big bucket of self-esteem. We’re doing a lonely job, Santa. When we write, no one sees it for ages and sometimes not ever—because of the whole lacking any self-worth and because we are afraid to let people peek inside our heads and tell us our brain is broken. Please make it a twelve-pack.
I know that we’re asking a lot since this letter is on the internet. We all know that virtual cookies while pretty, are not tasty or filling. So we have a poem for you as payment.
A Writer’s Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
The writers were typing, and clicking their mouse.
They’d put character sheets on the corkboard with care,
In hopes that a full manuscript soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
And finally writers could live in their heads.
The agents and editors even had time,
To wrap all the presents and open some wine.
When out of my brain there arose such a hero,
My manuscript soared up to awesome from zero.
Away to the laptop I flew in a hurry,
To type like a psycho, my hands were a flurry.
The idea in my brain shone so brightly that night,
I expected my eyeballs to glow with the light.
A sparkle of hope rose to puff out my chest,
I could finish and query and do all the rest.
He was handsome and witty, his character quirky,
He cussed like a sailor, he liked to eat jerky.
More rapid than eagles, the dialogue came,
This book would be awesome and I’d have a name.
“Hey Tolkien! hey, Pratchett! hey, Scalzi! and Grisham!
Hi, Roberts! Hi, Stine, Rowling, Christie, and Pushkin!
To the top of the lists! Now make way at the table!
I’ll be joining you all just as soon as I’m able!
Writers! Meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
Climb up to the house-top, of course you can fly.
But do this in your head, or we’ll think you quite silly,
You’ll all fall off the roof and land all willy-nilly.
Your brain will fall out, and roll down to the curb,
Then you’ll never finish, not even one word.
You’ll cry and complain and you might even mutter,
But your mind will be stuck over there in the gutter.
So, patiently wait for that jolly old elf,
And your words will be shiny in spite of yourself.
The story that soon will pour out of your head,
Will stiffen your backbone and get rid of dread.
You’ll sit at your laptop, you’ll send out that query,
You won’t be afraid and you’ll see things quite clearly.
And I’ll hear you exclaim as you turn out the light,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
Written by Julie Butcher