It’s here. That time of year when everything seems to come before writing. There is shopping to be done, relatives to entertain, and food to eat. How are you supposed to have time to work on your manuscript? Here are three approaches to handling writing during the holiday season.
The Just Do It Approach
Thank you, Nike, for your words of wisdom. This approach is often taken by the writers who need to get their manuscript done, no matter what.
It’s not going to be easy. You can’t wave a magic wand and suddenly have two extra hours in the day meant for nothing but writing. Making time means deciding that writing is more important than something else. Maybe it’s more important than the Christmas movie you want to watch or the cookies you want to make. Use that time to write.
Set your priorities.
Decide what falls above and below writing. Spending time with your family may be more important than writing, but attending the parade may not be. Decide what your priorities are, and let them inform your schedule and how you spend your energy. If you decide writing is near the top of the priority list, you will make it happen.
The holidays are a busy time, but they’re also an inspirational time! If you pause to look around, you’ll find plenty of emotions and stories to inform your writing.
Use family stories.
When relatives visit, there are always stories. You’ll hear about the crazy things your little cousin did this year and about your grandpa’s adventures when he was young. All these tales are fodder for stories.
Embrace the holiday spirit.
There’s something different about the way people act around the holidays. The mood changes and the world feels lighter. Use that feeling in your work. Let it inspire you to write, and let it seep into your stories.
The Other Side of the Coin
There are plenty of ways to make time to write if you want to, but no one says you have to. If you’ve begun to burn out, the holidays are the perfect time to take a break from writing.
Take a break and recharge.
Writing is intense. It takes all your mental and emotional power, and sustaining high word counts over a decent amount of time (hello, NaNoWriMo) can wear you out. Take some time off from writing. Enjoy the holiday and time with your family, and prepare yourself to start fresh.
Take care of yourself.
Continuing to pound out words even when your exhausted can negatively impact your wellbeing. Your work is important, but don’t forget you’re important, too. Rest. Spend time with loved ones. And try to eat something healthy.
Know Your Writing and Your Life
Whether you decide to write through the holidays or take some time off, listen to your gut. If it’s telling you to finish that manuscript now, make it happen. If it’s telling you you’re worn out and need a rest, make some hot cocoa and kick your feet up by the fire. No matter what you choose, enjoy the holiday!