How to make time to write during the holidays
These strategies will help you squeeze in extra minutes without feeling overwhelmed
Published: November 16, 2011
Holiday lists, deadlines and intense planning may have some thinking turkey time and the pressures of presents, parents and parties. That is, unless you’re a writer. If you’re not getting burnout from doing too much, you’re feeling guilty about not writing enough. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get your writing done and have your turkey, too? These tips should help you do just that:
Prioritize. If you want to write during the holidays but think
you don’t have the time, remember: You do. You just need to plan for
it. “Think about writing as a good habit, like daily exercise, brushing
teeth,” says Rochelle Melander, a writing coach and author of Write-A-Thon. Prioritize your time by scheduling writing sessions in your calendar and start committing to that schedule now.Set deadlines.
Some writers need deadlines to get things done. If you don’t have a
project deadline, create your own and ask a buddy to hold you
Delegate. Melander suggests setting
boundaries and delegating tasks to others. This year bring the side
dishes and offer to help clean up after the Thanksgiving party. This will eliminate hours of prep time and save you extra minutes to write.
Disconnect. From the Internet, that is. Consider unplugging for a while and you’ll find oodles of time you didn’t know you had.
Look for hidden moments.
“Over the years, I have discovered that there are hidden moments during
the holiday season when no one is expecting me to be anywhere or do
anything,” Melander says. You may find time waiting in line at the
grocery store or bank or in between buying holiday gifts. Plan to have
a notebook with you for those unexpected precious moments. Or follow
Melander’s lead by writing in the early morning before the kids are up.
requires some extra effort to write during the holidays, but a shift in
perspective might help. Instead of perceiving your writing as an
additional task to check off your to-do list, think of it as a rare
opportunity to pen that perfect character, juicy scene, or dynamic
drama inspired by your real life. In fact, why not let the winter
trimmings, joyful songs, holiday festivities and even your obnoxious
relatives become characters in your next writing project?
Photo by Sheri Inman
But what if you still can’t find the time to write?
Don’t beat yourself up about it. You may not be able to get to all of
your projects this season. “Writers do more than just write,” Melander
says. “They also need to develop ideas for new projects.” Sometimes
being productive means taking a break. Read that novel you’ve always
wanted to get to, watch that holiday play. Seeking activities that
tickle your senses and experiencing the magic you felt as a kid will do
wonders for your writing.
I’ve found that engaging in a bit of
winter whimsy lifts the doldrums of daily writing. I’ve never regretted
it, and my writing has yet to take a hit from my simply being
and enjoying life. Try it yourself and see if it doesn’t lift your
spirits, inspire a breakthrough, and energize you so that come next
year you’ll be refreshed and ready to write.
Brandi-Ann Uyemura is an associate editor for Psych Central and a freelance copywriter, blogger and features writer.