I’m in the midst of several deadlines and haven’t had time to write anything new. The following post is repeated from several years ago (with a few tweaks), but it’s as timely and pertinent today as it was then. Enjoy, and have a happy Thanksgiving!
The holiday season is fast approaching. There is much to do – shopping, baking, decorating, attending parties, socializing with friends – you name it. On top of that are your usual obligations – work, school, housekeeping, family time, volunteer work, and self-care. There isn’t much time left for your writing practice.
Or is there?
It all depends on how you allocate your time.
If your writing is important or if you’re currently working on a deadline, eaching your writing goals is critical. To reach those goals, you need to have a plan. If faced with this dilemma, you have several options:
1. Put your writing practice on hiatus.
Going on hiatus will obviously clear the way for you to enjoy your holiday more without worrying about what your next essay will be about. Then when you begin working again, you come with a fresh eye. On the other hand, a hiatus can take you out of your writing rhythm. You could lose momentum on the current work-in-progress. Come January when you sit back down and review your story, you might lose sight of where your story is going. Then you may have to start all over again.
2. Decrease the time you spend on your writing practice.
This approach might make the most sense for most writers. You can still make progress on your current work while still making time for your holiday activities. Here’s how it works. If you currently write for one hour a day, you might decide to write for only half an hour. Or instead of writing six days a week, perhaps you only write three days a week. The scheduling is up to you.
3. Maintain the status quo in your writing practice.
To maintain your current writing schedule will mean reassessing your holiday activities. Are there any that have lost their meaning for you? Do you really need to go to every party you’ve been invited to? Can you skip sending out holiday cards or the holiday bar crawl? The choices are yours.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to maintain your writing practice during the holidays, here are a few suggestions:
1. Set priorities. How important is your writing? Make a list of all the activities that are important to you. Where does writing fall on that list? If it’s high on your list of priorities, you’ll likely make more time for it.
2. Make an appointment with yourself. Treat your writing as you would a doctor visit or a trip to the hair salon. Make an appointment with yourself to write, and put it in your calendar. When you see that you have three one-hour writing sessions in your calendar, chances are you’ll be more likely to stick to that schedule.
3. Set realistic goals. Be clear about what you want to accomplish. Make sure that goal is reasonable and achievable. Writing a 1000-word essay or a 3000-word chapter of a novel is probably more achievable than writing 50,000 words.
If you want to learn more about making a writing plan for the holidays, check out this post from the Books & Such Literary Management blog.
When you maintain a consistent writing practice throughout the holidays with all its assorted pleasurable distractions, you may actually feel more joyous throughout the season. Why? Because you know you’ve made a workable writing plan and are sticking with it. There is no other greater joy than to do what you love during the holidays.