Monday, November 26, 2012

Writing During the Holidays—Tips

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
Christmas tree ornamentI probably should have run this post before Thanksgiving.   But getting ready for Thanksgiving made me busy and I was juggling different activities—and writing.

Which is what reminded me about doing a post on writing during the holidays!

Obviously, visiting with friends and family is the most important part of the holidays.  But writing is also important to most of us.  And we all know how easy it is to fall out of any habit over the holidays—whether it’s healthy eating, exercising, or writing.

Here are my tips for keeping up with your writing habit during the busiest time of year:
  1. Write early or late.  This works well whether you’re at home, hosting, or traveling. 
  2. Don’t try to catch up.  There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like we need to catch up on our word count. But if you have a chance to do a little extra for the next day (in case the following day is busier), then do it.
  3. If there’s a free moment where you’re alone and quiet, pick up your story.
  4. If you’re traveling, keep your story on a USB or save it to a cloud like Google Docs.
  5. Write less each day, but still write daily, or nearly every day, to keep your habit going.
  6. Let everyone in on your goal.  This won’t work well with all families, but if yours is the supportive kind, let them know you’re trying to continue writing over the holidays.
  7. Be forgiving of yourself.  Don’t be too hard on yourself or your draft.
  8. Leave the house to write. Can you go out to grab a coffee and write for fifteen or twenty minutes?
  9. If you just feel completely sapped and unable to be creative, try doing something with your book.  Brainstorm, plan what you might want to write the next day, make random notes on setting, character description, etc.
It’s easy to feel guilty when making time to write during the holidays.  You might feel guilty even if no one is around to see you putting time into your story:  maybe everyone else is waking up and making breakfast and you’re upstairs trying to write a couple of paragraphs.  Or everyone else is still winding down downstairs at night before turning in and you’re finishing a page. 

I don’t think we have anything to feel guilty about as long as we’re fully present with our family and friends when we’re with them.  If we take thirty minutes to be alone to work on something that’s important to us, that’s nothing to feel guilty about.  And I don’t think we have to have an official deadline to justify our daily writing or to place importance in it.

How do you stay on track and maintain a writing habit during holidays or other busy times?

Image: MorgueFile: DTL