Posted Oct 6 2018
The holidays can be a paradoxical time for writers. Many, perhaps most, of us with day jobs will have time off, which offers the possibility of getting more writing done. Many of us, however, whether we have a day job or not will also have special social and family obligations — guests, travel, etc. Those of us with children will have them home from school for two weeks or more. And almost all of us will have greeting cards to write and presents to buy, wrap, and send. Keeping focused through it can mean the difference between a month that is normally, if not extrodinarily productive and four week’s worth of lost work time.
This is where I should have some magic answers about how to keep writing through all the joy and chaos of the season. I don’t. What works for me, with two grown but unmarried children, won’t work for someone with a house full of overexcited young kids or bored and resentful adolescents (been there, done that). Nor will it work for those overwhelmed with visitors from out of town, on the road, or worse in the air through all the mess of holiday travel. And it won’t work for anyone whose job involves more hours and more stress at this time of year. We each have to find our own way through the season, and through our lives. Knowing we aren’t alone as writers, however, even if we are all unique offers some hope of comfort.
The most important thing through it all, I’ve found, is balance. Keep writing, if only a few words day. That keeps your story fresh in your mind, and will make it easier to get started again when life goes back to normal. Devote some time to your loved ones everyday, whether by sitting down to a real meal at home or texting, emailing or phoning to some far-off place. Enjoy the season a little every day, too — listen to holiday music, dig out the photos from past years, take a walk in the snow, eat a special food, read a favorite holiday story. Most important, take time for yourself every day, too. As my writer friends always say, you have to refill the well. Then, when January comes, you’ll be ready to write more and better than before.