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.