Today is Fat Tuesday! And at our house here in the Mitten, that means pazckis (pronounced poonch-keys).
If you aren’t Polish or don’t live near a Polish bakery, you’ve probably never tried this decadent, once-a-year treat. Pazckis are donuts on steroids…literally. Apparently, the tradition started as a way to prepare for Lent, when Polish women cleaned their kitchens of all fat. That’s why these bad boys are loaded with it, along with a fruit or custard filling and drowned in sugar. You eat one, and you need a nap. Eat two, and you’re done for the night. Don’t ask me how I know this. But I digress. What in the world does Fat Tuesday have to do with writing?
Well, I’ll tell you. We all need to indulge every now and then (and in the case of pazckis, it’s a good thing it’s only once a year). Even writers need to let themselves go and write as many words as they want. It’s cathartic. It’s therapy. It’s liberating to let go of word counts, even for a few minutes, and just write the story that’s inside of you. My first middle grade novel happened this way. I did not set out to write a novel, but I needed to get something off my chest. A memory that haunted me- that made me feel guilty for something that wasn’t my fault. Writing it out until I was done gave me permission to move on to something else. I’ve never submitted that novel. I’ve never even gone back to revise it. But it’s there. I feel proud that I had the courage to get those thoughts, feelings and emotions down on paper.
But remember, tomorrow does come. Lent always follows Fat Tuesday. And for many of us, that means fasting. In writing, that means getting rid of probably more than half of the words you wrote during your fit of unbridled writer passion. But that’s OK too. Getting the words out and flowing means you aren’t done. More words will come. Better ones. Truer ones than you ever thought possible. Cleaning out makes room. Writing it out makes room for your best work. The work that is to come.
I’m reminding myself of that right now as I look at my box of Fat Tuesday revelry. Enjoy them today, I tell myself. And be grateful for a chance to start again tomorrow.
Sensibility- Writing is never just a formula. Part of who you are comes out in every word. Embrace that truth.
Sense- While embracing the writer that is you, remember, not every word you write is vital to the story. Be prepared to cut the fat!
And speaking of writing..don’t forget to check out PGWRites Critiques. If you need a fresh perspective on your picture books, I’m here to help you!