The busy holiday season is here! In between baking, visiting family and friends, decorating, shopping for gifts, wrapping the gifts, and a million other tasks that make the holidays hectic—how will you ever find time to write? When your schedule is packed, it’s hard to justify taking the time to write and easier to tell yourself, I’ll just do it tomorrow. But too many “tomorrows” later, you may find yourself in the middle of January with nothing but a pile of blank pages. Here are some smart ways to keep your writing on track amidst all the turkey gobbling and sugarplums dancing.
The Hassle: You feel rushed and stressed when you steal a few minutes to write. The Holiday Helper: Instead of noting how much (or how little) time you spend writing, keep track of the number of words you write in a day. By removing the pressure of trying to beat the clock, you’ll free yourself to see your productivity in a new way. Also, give yourself a little slack this time of year. If you normally maintain a rigorous writing timetable of an hour a day, every day—maybe, for now, you could consider any amount of writing on any day as a success.
The Hassle: There’s no space on your holiday calendar for quality writing time. The Holiday Helper: Here’s the secret to any successful holiday endeavor: flexibility. Make an “un-schedule” by taking inventory of any free time: your lunch hour, the time you spend waiting for your children during holiday pageant rehearsals, sitting in an airport waiting for your flight—you get the idea. Use this downtime to write. And since this “found” time doesn’t take away from any other holiday tasks you need to accomplish, you’ll be less likely to feel guilty about working on your writing projects.
The Hassle: You can only focus on writing when you’re sitting at your favorite desk drinking your favorite hot cocoa. The Holiday Helper: True, many writers are creatures of habit. But remember that secret about being flexible? Well, it applies here as well. If you want to stay productive with your writing, you need to be creative and adaptable. So bring a laptop, a tablet, or a pen and paper with you as you run your holiday errands. When you find you’ve arrived somewhere early, use those few extra minutes to jot down ideas or to continue working on an ongoing writing project. You can also decide to wake up earlier (or stay up later) than usual to ensure that you spend some time at your favorite desk, with your favorite hot cocoa, and no interruptions.
The Hassle: You’ve got five bags of holiday gifts in one hand and a platter of holiday goodies in the other hand. How are you supposed to type or hold a pen to write? The Holiday Helper: With a dictation program for your computer or app for your cell phone, writing can be virtually hands-free!
So with some multitasking…that all-important flexibility…and maybe a few festive cookies and a glass of wine…you can continue to write even through the busiest of times. Let the holidays begin!