Christmas is over, but my kids are at home, my mom is visiting and my husband is on vacation. I always wonder whether I should give up trying to write this time of year and give into the reality that writing is nearly impossible when the family’s together. Why bother? It’s not easy being a writer in any household, but I find it particularly difficult during the holidays because the house is full and I can rarely steal away with my laptop and a cup of coffee for an hour or two.
At the same time, I know that when I stop writing, even for a few days, I lose my momentum. When I get back to my projects I spend hours re-reading the last draft, sifting through my notes and trying remember my plot details. Not writing may be great for a day or two, but it’s much too painful when I start-up again. Even though my family members scowl when I hunker down, I’m convinced that writing is a lot like exercise. A few days off and my mind gets flabby.
I’ve compiled a list of tips that help me write through the holidays, even when the kids are home, the house is full and the distractions are many. My hope is that they help you the way they’ve helped me.
Happy Holidays and Happy Writing!
Deb’s Post-Holiday Writing Guide:
1) Write every day, even if you have only a few minutes
I find that this is the key to maintain a momentum, holidays and everyday. You may not have time to revise an entire chapter, but keeping your head in your writing project is essential and saves time when you do have a longer stretch of writing time.
2) Make the most of “stolen moments”
For years I carried my laptop with me everywhere, now I have a tablet computer that I tuck in my purse. I write when I’m waiting for my dentist, during my son’s basketball practice, and when I’m on the bus chaperoning a band trip. The same principle works when my house is full. Some of my best ideas come during these stolen moments. I suspect it works well because this type of writing feels illicit.
3) Don’t make excuses
You’re a writer, and writing is what you do. Not everyone will understand your obsession, but that’s okay. You don’t owe others an explanation for doing what you love to do.
4) Save your small steps for the busiest times
Taking on a big project is probably unrealistic during the holidays, but it’s ideal for short projects. The week between Christmas and the New Year is a great time to work on flash or hint fiction or small parts of a larger project
5) Know when to stop
As much I encourage you not to deny yourself writing time during the holidays, it’s also important to know when to take a break from everything, even writing.