How To Keep Writing Through the Holidays

It’s that time of the week – Tuesday Discussion.

I haven’t done a Tuesday Discussion for a long time if you want to read over and contribute to the discussion on some of the previous posts, click the links below.

For those new to my blog, each week I pose a topic (relevant to my WIP) and try to unravel the mysteries and different perspectives of it. This week’s post is:

How do you keep writing through the holidays?

In Australia, summer has heated up the days while on the other side of the world, others are in the thick of winter. Even though the average temperatures are different, there are cores things in common – big dinners, wine, the out-of-town guests, the last-minute travel planning and hope of getting any sort of writing done before the holidays are over.

As a writer, this season brings fears of my word count goal slipping farther into the new year. I still love the holidays, but I don’t want them to become a two-month excuse for not finishing my next novel.

How will you stay writing in these holidays?

During a busy season like this, it’s not about quantity, it’s about consistency. I have a checklist that will keep me writing without losing my holiday spirit.

Set your expectations lower than you think you need to.

Now is not the time for lofty goals. Any daily progress warrants celebration.

You might feel tempted to raise your word count goals when you aren’t making headway on a project. Most of the time, you need to do the opposite. When we think we can’t meet our daily goal, we don’t want to try.

A low goal doesn’t limit your efforts, setting the bar low makes it easier for you to convince yourself to try. Once you get there, you may surprise yourself but if you don’t that’s okay.

Find a space to work on the road.

If you travel for major holidays, make space for your writing. Maybe there’s a quiet room in the house where you’re staying or a little table near a power outlet in the hotel lobby. You may want to sneak away to a local coffee shop or library. In a pinch, you can pop on a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Whichever way you do it, carve out a writing space that feels separate from family and social time for a set amount of time.

While this serves your writing — it’s very hard to work when you’re surrounded by noise and social activity — it will also make for a better visit. Everything takes exponentially longer when I try to work during family visits. I lose my train of thought every 30 seconds because people keep talking to me. All the while, I feel like That Person who can’t put the laptop away. Separating writing time from family time makes both activities more productive and enjoyable.

Be assertive about taking time for yourself.

Now that you’ve practiced talking about your writing work and finding space to do it, don’t get shy. It won’t always feel easy to excuse yourself, but it’s your job to make sure the writing happens.

Find a balance between being present for others and showing up for your writing. Don’t skip out on planned social events. Help to prepare Christmas dinner. But whether you’re traveling or hosting, you’ll almost always find little bits of downtime when everyone’s just hanging out. Use these times to say “I’m going to get some work done upstairs, I’ll be back in a bit” or “I’m thinking I’ll duck out this afternoon to knock out my writing for the day.”

Telling people about your project in advance makes it feel less awkward to reference it in the present. Your writing becomes an expected part of the group’s rhythm and routine.

By using my checklist, I hope I can maintain a daily writing habit.

Do you have other ways to maintain your writing habit these holidays?

Please post your comments and answers below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view and answer, please invite them or share this post with them.

#DWTSmith #holidaywriting


4 thoughts on “How To Keep Writing Through the Holidays

  1. I actually like to give myself some time off during the holidays. I find this time is busy enough with family and friends. When things inevitably come up, not being able to hit my word count goals stresses me out. Rather than set myself up for potential disappointment, I use this time to focus on finishing outstanding project deadlines and re-filling my creative well. I still blog and journal, but I save my manuscript for the New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

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