Wednesday, December 12, 2018
WRITER 2 WRITER: HOW TO KEEP WRITING DESPITE THE HOLIDAY MADNESS
The holiday season is crazy busy for most of us, which means less time to write. With all the wonderful chaos of kids home on vacation, traveling, Christmas parties, and hosting out-of-town guests it is easy to lose momentum and fall behind in our personal goals.
So, how do writers keep writing? How do we carve out enough alone time to keep up with our works-in-progress? Here are five quick tips to help keep your creativity alive through the winter:
1. KEEP A SCHEDULE – If you want to write during the holidays, you have to make it your #1 priority. If you don’t, everything else—cleaning the house, wrapping presents, baking strudel—will fill up all your time, leaving not a moment for personal creativity. That’s why it is vital to schedule a specific time each day to write. It should be the same time every day. Whether it’s morning or night, for an hour or ten minutes, is completely up to you. But put your writing time on your calendar and avoid scheduling anything else during your “ME TIME.”
2. LEARN TO SAY “NO” – Between family gatherings, school celebrations, concerts, parties, performances, and more, you could easily fill every spare moment with Holiday Cheer. While it may be a given to support your kid’s performance in The Nutcracker Ballet or their school winter concert, maybe this year you could pass on your neighbor’s cookie exchange party or Great Aunt Marge’s yuletide sing-a-long. Make a list of all the events you could attend and select just those few that are the most important. Then cross the rest off the list!
3. STOP FEELING GUILTY – Your son wants you to make pancakes. Your daughter needs help finding her missing shoe. Your husband can’t find the laundry detergent. Remember, this is YOUR TIME. You’ve earned it. Close your office or bedroom door. Lock it. Tape a sign on it that says “BACK IN 1 HOUR”. Tell your family you need this time to write, but they can have you the rest of the day. Trust me. They will survive without you no matter how much they whine.
4. JUST KEEPING WRITING – Has the holiday madness muddled your brain? Can’t think of a single word to put down on paper? It doesn’t matter what you write as long as you write something. The goal during Christmas break is not to complete the next great American novel by New Year’s. Your objective should be to keep your writing habits in place and to keep up the momentum so when 2018 hits you don’t have to pick up the shattered pieces of your writing life. If you can’t think creatively, use your alone time to write a letter to a friend, update your journal, or start your gift list for next year.
5. LET IT GO! – So, you missed a day because you absolutely HAD to help your son sell Christmas Trees for his Boy Scout troop’s annual fundraiser, or you woke up with an Egg Nog hangover from hell. Missing one day won’t kill you. Get over it. Pick yourself up and do what you need to do tomorrow. Just don’t let the missed days accumulate. One missed day is no biggie, but two or three and you’re setting yourself up for major bad habit repair work. Either way, whatever happens – whether you successfully manage to write a paragraph (or a sentence) a day for a month, or you throw it all to the wind and say to hell with it! – don’t beat yourself up. The holidays can be insane, but they are also joyous. Let go of the self-criticism and enjoy the spirit of the season.