Little snow, big snow

December 9th, 2011

Have you ever had one of those writing days (weeks, months) where it seems it’s all you can do to eke out a paltry handful of words worth keeping?

The muse is napping, perhaps, or has skived off to go bowling with friends, leaving you to sit and stare at an (almost) blank page. Frustrating, isn’t it?

When this happens to me, I always think of my Nova Scotia grandmother.  Her name was Eva MacDougall, but we called her Nana Mac.  Nana Mac was full of sayings–some salty, some hilarious, some wise.  One of her wisest was “little snow, big snow,” which she attributed to the Mi’kmaq, a First Nations people from her region of Canada.

“Do you see that snow?” she’d say, looking out our window.  (I grew up in New England, and Nana Mac often came down to “the Boston States,” as she called New Hampshire and Massachusetts.)  I’d squint, because the stuff sifting down from the sky hardly qualified as snow.  A flurry at best, maybe.

“Little snow, big snow,” she’d tell me, nodding sagely.  “It adds up, you’ll see.”  She’d go on to explain that the biggest snowfall accumulations often came as a result of the smallest, finest flakes piling up gradually over time, while the big, fat flakes that arrived with such pomp and circumstance — look! snow! — often petered out quickly and melted away.

Nana Mac was usually right.

So I keep this in mind when I’m writing, and the going is slow.  Word by word, snowflake by snowflake, a story is built.  Stay the course; just keep writing.

Little snow, big snow.

 

33 Responses to “Little snow, big snow”

  1. Steph Burgis says:

    Oh, thank you for this! It really was exactly what I needed to read today.

  2. AbaGayle says:

    I loved this♥
    My grandparents are all for antiques or art, and not so helpful in the writing department. But! If you need any help, whatsoever, with antiques or art…they’ll help you!

  3. Angela says:

    Heather!! THANKS for this…I needed to know that my non-luxurious, tiny pellet-looking snowflakes aren’t good for nothin after all 🙂 Like you, I’ve got two huge deadlines. I’m feeling a bit “flaky” and needed Nana Mac’s wisdom! <3

  4. Margaret loves the MDBC! says:

    Cute! 🙂

  5. Awesome Person says:

    Nana has good advice! I’m working on a poem right now…and the words aren’t exactly coming to me…yet.

  6. Shelby says:

    How about ‘no snow’? In Ohio, for goodness sake! In the middle-(ish) of December!!!!

    I want snow!!!!!!!

  7. Cello Girl says:

    wow! that is a great theory! what else did you nana mac say??

  8. Keri says:

    Good saying. I hope your muse had fun while bowling so it can provide you with a lot of good writing. Speaking of snow, we had some here in NJ yesterday and it was gone by the afternoon.

  9. katie says:

    Thanks for that Heather

  10. Sarah says:

    I LIVE IN NOVA SCOTIA!!!!!!!!! :DDDD That is really true though, about the snow! I always tell my friends this. 🙂

  11. AbaGayle says:

    I got my book! I’m so excited. Thank you SOSOSOSOSOSO much (:

  12. Alexandra says:

    Aahhh…music to my ears! It’s just what a young aspiring writer like me needs! 🙂 I’ve finished one story in my entire lifetime that was actually good! It was a historical diary, my favorite!!

  13. Erin says:

    I totally have those days- I LOVE to write, but sometimes I just have no ideas. Being a writer is sometimes touch and go, unfortunately. By the way, I got Home for the Holidays for my birthday last month, and it rocks! I can’t wait for the next book!

  14. Elizabeth says:

    This is a great post! And so true.

  15. Hannah says:

    Thanks Heather! So true.

  16. Did you name the iceskating coach (in The Mother Daughter Book Cub) after your grandmother?

  17. Thanks for the helpful tips!! ive been trying to write for so long but, my ideas are so boring, and i keep trying over and over but nothing works! So im going to try your way, and hopefully it works for me too. Thanks 🙂

  18. Alaina (Cassidy Fan) says:

    How true! I love it! 🙂

  19. natalie says:

    hopefully the snow is settling on a hill called “Wish you Were Eyre”! 😛

  20. Hannah says:

    when will you be posting the sneak peek chapter of wish you were eyre?

    • heathervogelfrederick says:

      Not for a while, Hanna. Probably sometime late spring or early summer. You’ll be getting a sneak peak at ONCE UPON A TOAD first…

      • Emily says:

        Hi Heather,

        I was woundering if you are going to come out with any more Mother-Daughter book club books…. i know you just came out with “Home for the Holidays” but are you going too come out with any more of the books?, because you are the olny athour i have been reading for a couple weeks!! And i L.O.V.E your books so much… my mom says she never seen me read this much until i found your books at my school libray!

        • heathervogelfrederick says:

          Yes, Emily — I’m working on the sixth one right now. It’s called WISH YOU WERE EYRE (the book club will be reading JANE EYRE) and it will be published next fall (2012). 🙂

          • Anna says:

            Heather ~ I know we will be hearing about Megan’s trip to Paris, but are there any parts in Wish You Were Eyre about Courtney getting married? I don’t know if Cassidy Sloane can handle more than 2 family weddings in less than a decade! It’s kind of creepy how real the characters are to me . . . but I guess that means you are doing your job exceptionally well!

          • heathervogelfrederick says:

            SO glad I’m doing my job well, Anna! 🙂 As for a wedding, well, you’ll just have to wait and see…

  21. Emily says:

    i love all of your Mother-Daughter book club books! i love all of them! Are you going to come out with any more?

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