Writing During the Holidays

Saturday, November 29, 2014
Thanksgiving is behind us along with turkey and cranberries and a wealth of other delights. Christmas is yet to come which, of course, means shopping and wrapping and more cooking. We are officially in one of the busiest times of year.

That may be, but some of us still need to write. For some of us, that means a story that just won’t leave us be. For others, like myself, it is because this is how we make our livings. I have deadlines – a book due December 3rd, an outline due the 15th, and a first chapter due just after New Year’s.

Here are five tips for working writing into your holiday schedule.

  1. Give yourself permission. That first one is a big deal. Acknowledge that it is okay for you to write even during the holidays. Whether you have a deadline or an itch, writing is what you do. If you identify as a writer, it is okay and even desirable for you to take the time to write. You’ll be more sane and your family will love you for that.
  2. Acknowledge what you can and cannot do with other people around.  When I am hip deep in teens, I can proof on paper and reformat on screen. I cannot write a first draft of a chapter or do a sweeping rewrite. I can blog even with my husband home.
  3. Write. Giving yourself permission to write isn’t enough. You actually need to sit down and write. If no one is home, do the writing on the “cannot do with other people around” list. If they are home, switch to the other list, but write.
  4. Be the enforcer. Especially if this is a new habit, you may have to convince those around you. My son and husband often need gentle reminders that “just having a discussion” in my office door is forbidden. No, not discouraged. Forbidden. Your family can make do without you for 30 minutes.
  5. Go out and have some holiday fun. When you have done whatever writing you set out to do, go experience the holidays. Steps 1 – 4 don’t mean that I’m telling you that all of your time should be spent writing. We need to experience life so that we have something to write. Now that you’ve gotten the hang of giving yourself permission to write, you must also give yourself permission to experience whatever is going on around you.

Write and celebrate. You can do both. It’s a matter of balance.


Sue Bradford Edwards teaches our course, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next section starts on January 5th.


Margo Dill said...

I love the idea of the two lists--one for work you can do with people around and one for work when you need silence. I am like that exactly. I can blog and do email and do light editing when my daughter is playing or watching TV. I cannot work on my latest YA novel. Need quiet. :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

That's a relief. I thought it might just be me!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I'm with Margo and you, Sue. The two list method rocks (or should I say "Jingle Bell Rocks"?)! :-)

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