Holiday Writing Life: 5 Ways to Mine the Opportunities All Around You

Saturday, December 09, 2017
This can be a tough time of the year. So many holidays, so much to do, and maybe just maybe you’d like to squeeze in time to write. One thing that can help is to spot the opportunities all around you.

Five minutes. You can do amazing things in only five minutes a day. Work on your novel for five minutes daily throughout the holidays. I did that this fall when I was completing a nonfiction job. The 4000 words I wrote in six week were not beautiful but they were 4000 more than I had before. Use your five minutes to increase your word count or do the pre-writing needed for a new project. Or you can compile a number of shorter pieces to finalize later on.

Activities. The holidays are full of activities and so are many magazines and newsletters. Do you have a recipe that was passed down from your grandmother? A decorating project you and your daughters do every Christmas? Or a family game that you play with your nieces and nephews? Maybe you’ve come up with a way to save money on buying gifts. You may not have time to market it right now but draft it while it is fresh in your mind.

Those sweet moments. Like Crystal Otto pointed out in her recent post, we are in the season of Advent. When you have one of those sweet, inspirational moments, write it down. You may very well have a devotional or a short essay on your hands. One of my writing buddies is a champion at turning these moments into prayers. Another uses them to craft poetry. Use what touches you to draft something poignant to share. 

Research. I am part of a family of readers ranging in age from 2 months to 80 years. The holidays are a great opportunity for me to do market research. What books do parents want for their kids? What books does my teen niece want to find under the tree? I can also check out my mother-in-law’s reader to see what she has recently downloaded from the library.

Drama Queens, Smoking Ovens and Other Little Disasters. Those moments that you’d just rather forget? The ones we here in Missouri call “interesting,” because our Moms would be super mad if we said what we really thought? They make great essays. Angela Mackintosh taught me that after I described one family encounter. Okay, first she apologized for laughing herself silly, but she was right. Griswold family moments form the basis for many essays.

Whether your holidays are perfect or chaotic, don’t berate yourself for not getting more writing done. Instead find five minutes to jot down whatever has moved you. Before toasting Auld Lang Syne, you’ll have either a number of short pieces ready to take to final or a considerable amount of progress on your longer project.


To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins January 8th, 2017.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue--Your "activities" suggestion had not occurred to me. Thanks. My family does something over the holidays that might be of interest to other families.

(By the way, I think you need to market the "Five Minutes a Day" advice. And you're welcome--I've already given you a title for the book. ;)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Yay! I feel like a rockstar because you mentioned me in your post. :) Your family stories are always hilarious, Sue!

These are great tips! Every Christmas we sew dolls for our friends and family--monsters with two heads, stuff like that. We also make ornaments out of sculpey, spray foam, and found objects. It never occurred to me to write about it.

I agree with Sioux. You totally should do a Five Minutes a Day book! You could have an entire series of projects and goals that take five minutes a day--everything from writing a novel to organizing your office to five minute crafts and five minute meal recipes. And start with a website of five minute posts to gain interest for the book. And somehow connect it to fiverr...because I'm trying to throw in as many fives as possible. High five! :)

Marcia Peterson said...

I love you you make things seem so easily achievable and non-stressful. Thanks for the inspiration!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Another book project. Why thank you! Have you been conspiring with my husband? Teasing aside, it is a good idea. I'll have to start noodling it over.

That's right. Pile on with Sioux. You really are doing your best to outline the book for me though. I do expect to see how-tos from both you and Sioux. I've never done a spray foam craft.

Non-stressful feels pretty important given all the stress in our lives. Especially this time of year.

Thanks for the encouraging words, Ladies!


Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I love your five minute idea! I'm going to start doing it tomorrow, as I've spent the last couple hours blogging. Merry Christmas, Sue!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top