Now that NaNoWriMo is over, there’s something else on the horizon that will throw a wrench in your writing life.
It also means the most wonderful time of the year. Presents. Songs about snow and mistletoe and Santa Claus. Stockings and parties and lots of sweets.
You know what I’m talking about…Christmas!
I won’t lie, Christmas is my absolute favorite season of the entire year, but it also has the power to really get me off the tracks when it comes to my writing goals.
When I sit down to write, Christmas movies call my name instead. Christmas episodes of my favorite TV shows. Wrapping presents with my husband. Baking. So much baking.
And then I reach December 31st, hardly realizing that it’s time for me to look back on the year and see what I accomplished, what I didn’t accomplish, and create goals for myself for the next year.
Normally, at that point, I’m all “wait, where’s the snow?” rather than, “I really think my main character needs to have a friend die to get the emotional journey I want.” Meaning my focus is so NOT on my stories, but on the present time instead.
And while I absolutely think that we all need a break, especially around the holidays when it’s hard enough to stay in the present moment, I do think that keeping our routines and not necessarily throwing everything out with the bathwater can actually do us good rather than harm.
Writing through the holidays is no easy task…especially if you’re like me and you have family and in-laws and friends who want to see you and who you want to see practically 24/7. There goes writing time, workout time, making-healthy-meals time, and that precious snuggling on the couch with a cup of cocoa with your furry friend or significant other time.
But never fear! Today, I’ve got a slew of tips to help you write your way through the holiday season. You can still finish the year a few steps closer to your goals, ready to plan the best 2017 ever.
Tip #1: Remember that Your Schedule is Completely Within Your Control
There are so many demands on our time during the holidays, but it’s important to remember that no one can make you do anything you don’t want to do. You are not a slave to everyone else’s schedules, I promise!
Don’t completely throw out your normal routine. If you wake up early to write for an hour, continue to do so, even if you went to a party the night before. Continuing this habit might mean leaving the party a little earlier, which is totally ok and when you’re a famous author you won’t regret it one bit.
If you love writing for ten minutes before you go to sleep, protect that time. Don’t wait to leave a gathering until you’re falling asleep standing up. Leave at a time that will allow you to protect your bedtime routine.
Tip #2: It’s the Month of Sweets, But Don’t Surrender Entirely
While it’s tempting to eat twice your weight in cookies, cakes, and hot cocoa, don’t. You’ll find that your brainpower and energy both begin to wane with the more sugar you allow into your system. It’s the season of treats, so don’t overdo it. A treat here and there can still be fun and special without gorging yourself to a stupor of laziness with no energy to write.
Aside from sugar just not being good for us anyways, it robs our bodies of energy and brainpower. Look for other forms of energy, like chia seed pudding, a protein smoothie, or even a handful trail mix, rather than Christmas sweets. Your brain will get a boost to get your daily writing goal finished and you won’t look back on your writing and wonder what the hell you wrote while in a sugar coma.
Tip #3: Wash Your Hands
Stay as far away as you can from germs. If you get knocked out with a head cold, a sore throat, the flu…you’re down for the count. Take care of yourself and you can take care of your writing.
Personally, I carry hand sanitizer with me and use it a lot during the holidays. Although I don’t use it much the rest of year…not sure why. Maybe I’m more protective of myself during the holidays?
Tip #4: Pick One Day Each Week in December to Be Your “You” Day
There are four weeks in December, so pick four days throughout the month where you can focus on writing, inspiration, editing, and doing other things aside from writing that you love. Nothing will give you more energy than a day solely focused on filling yourself up.
When you pick these “you” days, you’re saying no to parties or other get-togethers and instead, giving yourself a little holiday cheer by allowing yourself the time and space to write and work on your passion.
Tip #5: Bring A Notebook With You
Wherever your travels take you, bring a notebook. If you’re traveling for the holidays, you never know what great conversations you’ll hear at the airport, on the train or the bus, or even from your family members. Keep it close, and inspiration will still find it’s way to you, even as you get smooshed in hugs by Great Aunt Agnes.
Tip #6: Take Advantage of Your Commute
Whether you drive to work or take public transportation, utilize that time to write or think about writing. Whether you listen to podcasts, spend a few minutes on the bus sketching a world map, or voice record yourself talking about your characters, you can absolutely use your commute to keep you writing all month long.
What tricks will you be using to keep writing all month long? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Cheers, and Happy Holidays!