My garden is abuzz with the activity of happy flying creatures today. A woodpecker chips away at a pine tree; small chickadees pluck at the grass, and bright orange robins seach through the remains of the bird feeder that came off in a storm a few nights ago.
With the sun out and all the wildlife around me, it almost seems like spring is on its way. The only contradition is the harsh, 34 degree temp. outside right now.
For as long as we have been married my husband and I have had an argument over the name of this time of year. He calls it spring.... but to me it is still clearly winter. It makes it difficult to plan holidays since we become very confused about whether we are taking a spring or winter break.
I have come to see that this is much more than a difference in definition... I believe it is a psychological distinciton between us. I am a waiter, I would rather be surprised on Christmas morning than shake the presents beforehand to learn what they are. I like the anticipation and the planning. My husband, on the other hand, is a shaker. He searches for hidden presents and then tries to guess what they are through the wrappings. He is ready for things to happen immediately, and encourages it right along.
Either way is good... (though it does make it tricky to surprise him!) But I bet this difference shows up in more ways than simply presents and the season. In writing we frequently debate the pros and cons of being a pantser or a plotter. Pantsers let the story unfold as they write it without detailing the plot twists in advance. On the other extreme, I have met plotters who literally lay out a specific number of note cards with the key plot points listed and then fill in the details to fit each card.
Again, neither way is wrong (and I happen to think a little of both probably works pretty well). But I suddenly wonder if this relates to this psychology of waiting. It is important for me in my writing to be surprised by what my characters do.... it is part of what makes it fun for me. Trying to strip away that surprise in the very beginning would be like forcing Spring to come early. I don't feel ready until everything is fleshed out and it actually surrounds me.
But much as I like to be surprised by my characters, I have to remember, they don't really care. Plotter or pantser, waiter or shaker.... go with what works for you; the birds will sing and peck at the grass whether I call it Winter or my husband calls it Spring.