Tis The Season

28 Nov

Yes, it is that time of year once again. That crazy and wonderful time of year. Christmas. Oh, the shopping and the cooking. The time spent with friends. The less anticipated time spent with a boss at the holiday work party. The wrapping. More shopping. The decorating. The baking. The joy. The guilt. The love. The meltdowns.

It’s enough to make anyone certifiable. Which doesn’t bode well for writers as we already have voices in our heads.

It’s also hard as h . . . the holidays to keep on track with writing. Life just upped pretty much everything in a 30 day whirlwind of chaos. Personally, I love the holidays. But I struggle to get everything done. Including writing.

So I’ve got a plan.

Writing through the chaos in 3 easy – or somewhat easy – steps:

1. Make a writing log: Grab a piece of lined paper (or use excel if you’re more tech savvy), create a couple of columns. In the first column write the date. I TRY to write 5 days a week and keep the weekends open for family, so my column has five dates listed and then two open spaces before the next week begins (in case I don’t get my writing done and need time on the weekends). The next column should be wider – this is where I keep track of how many words, pages, etc. . . that I wrote for the day. I keep the column wider so I can also add little bits of praise or encouragement. All I can say is it helps me. The log is a great visual. It really helps keep me on track.

2. Keep a sharp eye out for time gaps: as unbelievable as it may sound, there are and will be periods of time in the coming days where you have spaces of time. In between the shopping and the wrapping and the baking   there will be chunks of free time. Waiting for the brownies to bake. Waiting for a store to open. Waiting in line at the post office. Keep your pen and paper – or ipad or smartphone – with you and take advantage of those tiny gaps of time. They add up.

3. Give yourself a break: Unless you are under deadline, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make your word count. These are the holidays after all. Peace, love and fa-la-la. Time to enjoy family and friends and celebrate. It’s a special time of year. Enjoy it.

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for surviving the holidays?



Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Idaho


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6 responses to “Tis The Season

  1. Janis McCurry

    November 28, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    Absolutely. About three years ago, I decided to do away with writing expectations. I take December off in my head. No writing goals. Anything I might end up writing is icing. It may be avoidance, but it’s MY avoidance. I’m a much happier person since I started using this tactic. The holidays mean a lot to my family and I spend weekends baking for the big day. We all go to one house and bake together all the traditional recipes handed down. Bakkels and Krumkake from our Norwegian grandmother and homemade peanut clusters from our German-English grandmother. Pecan Tassies from our mother. There’s more, but I don’t want to get hungry.

    Not to say your tips aren’t great. It a positive way to handle the guilt and I admire you.

  2. Judith Keim

    November 28, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    I’m an goal oriented person so I can keep my writing going without tracking words daily BUT I give myself slack time between Thanksgiving and Christmas even though my goal is to get a new story out to agents and editors January 2nd. My holiday is filled with family birthdays as well (obviously not a family of planners in this respect) so it’s a crazy time of year!

  3. stephanieberget

    November 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I love your ideas, especially the writing log. I’m going to try that this year. Thanks.

  4. ramblingsfromtheleft

    November 29, 2012 at 4:56 AM

    Meredith, the trick is to not think about it. I string out the activities like lights on the tree and when I’m done I always have two red too close, three green where I wanted a couple of white. Sound familiar? Those days with the big clunky lights that got tangled no matter how careful you were. Lights that someone’s dad or brother struggled with while the little kids waited for the part where they were “allowed” to start decorating the tree? I think I’ll do a post about Christmas lights and their relationship to a writing schedule at Holiday time. No matter how careful we plan, there were always some blank spots on the tree, one light … usually in the front and on top … went out … or as the case was once … the whole tree sputterd and sizzled and they had to start all over again 🙂

    I’m afraid if I tried a Christmas log, it would end up like wet wood in the fire place. Guess I’ll have to string along and hope for the best when I plug in to work 🙂

  5. maryvine

    November 29, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Thanks, Meredith, for having us think about writing even during busy times!

  6. Peggy Staggs

    December 3, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Great ideas. I used to keep a log of the pages I wrote everyday. I’ve got to start that again. It really helped.


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