Writing During The Holidays
It’s here! The holiday season is upon us. If you’re a writer, you’re probably thinking “how in the world am I going to have time to write and participate in all the holiday and family activities without ripping my hair out?”
Don’t worry because I’ve got you covered. In today’s post, I’m giving you my top six tips for writing during the holiday season with less stress.
My first tip is simply to prioritize. Figure out what is most important to you during this season. Is it baking cookies and watching holiday movies with your kids? Taking a break to relax and rest before the new year and tackling all the new year goals? Is it finishing your book in time for a new year’s release?
Decide which activities and traditions you’re going to make time for. Whatever is important to you during this season, you’ll want to write that down and prioritize it. It will help you stay focus during this busy season, especially when it comes time to creating your schedule, which is my next tip.
So now that you know what’s important to you and what activities you want to prioritize this season, it’s time to plan ahead and create a schedule.
First thing you’ll want to do when creating your schedule is write down any events or activities that are “non-negotiable.” Since you’ve already prioritized what’s important to you during this season, the non-negotiable things are easy to figure out.
Important note, if you wrote down “writing” on your list of priorities for this season, then treat it as a non-negotiable. Don’t keep moving around and rescheduling your writing time to fit in other activities, especially if they weren’t on your list of priorities to begin with. Also mark down any commitments you’ve already made for this season.
Next cross out any days you know you won’t be able to write. This was a tip I got from fellow writer and mentor, Sarra Cannon. For example, I know for me I’ll be too busy with family and church activities to write between December 23-27. So I’ve already marked off those days as non-writing days. By doing this, it gives you a better idea of how much time you have to write.
Once you know this, you can more easily schedule in your writing days/times. Block out the times you plan to write and put it in your calendar as an event. You’re much more likely to follow through with your writing if you make it into an event/appointment in your calendar, as you’ll be less likely to schedule something else during that time.
Set Realistic Goals
My next tip for writing during the holidays is to set realistic goals. Raise your hand if you are overly ambitious with your goals and to-do lists. 🙋🏽♀️ I’m right there with you.
I want to do everything under the sun and then set goals and to-do lists that are a mile long and impossible to accomplish within the time frame I’ve set. I, like most people, underestimate the time it takes to do certain tasks, and overestimate my ability and energy level at any given point.
But to avoid burnout and have a less stressful holiday, we need to learn to set realistic goals. If you have lots of family events and activities scheduled for this season, then it may not be realistic to have a goal of writing 75,000 words of a new novel before the end of the year. Unless you’ve already got a good chunk of it written during NaNoWriMo.
This is why I started my first two tips with prioritizing and planning ahead. Now that you know what your priorities are and you’ve created a schedule for yourself, blocking out your writing times, you can determine what’s a realistic goal based on the time you have planned to write during this season.
Develop a Self-Care Routine
Holidays can be a stressful time of year, even when you’re not writing. Your schedule is filled with so many activities, you’ve got family to visit, people to shop for, decorations to put up, it’s a wonder any of us make it through it. That’s why it’s so important to develop a self-care routine.
Carve some time out of your day just for yourself. Time when you’re not running around, picking up ingredients for Christmas dinner or mailing out someone’s gift. Even if it’s just 20 or 30 minutes a day, set that time for you to relax and do something you enjoy. Curl up with that cozy mystery you’ve been wanting to read. Take a bubble bath. Watch a holiday movie. Whatever it is, just make sure you take time for you.
Create a Reward System
If you sometimes struggle with writing like me, then consider creating a reward system for yourself. These can be based on milestones such as a word count, number of chapters or scenes written, or they can be time based, such as writing for 2 hours daily.
Once you meet your daily goal or milestone, reward yourself. This could be something small like your favorite treat or drink, or if you met a bigger milestone, it could be a bigger reward, such as a mani-pedi or something you’ve been saving up to buy.
Whatever it is, a reward system could be a wonderful motivator to stay on track with your goals during this busy season.
Give Yourself Grace
My last tip is to just give yourself some grace. We’re only human, and life doesn’t always go the way we want or expect it to. Sometimes, even with the best planning, things happen that cause us to fall off track and get behind.
Don’t beat yourself up if you have to push back a deadline or rearrange your timeline. Give yourself grace and know that things will work out as they should.
So those are my top six tips for writing during the holiday season without burning out or stressing out. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, please leave them in a comment below, I’d love to know.
If you want to learn about more writerly tools and resources, then sign up for my newsletter below. You’ll get access to all the writerly things.
Until next time,
Happy reading and writing!