Writing in the holidays

There’s this plot I’ve been mulling over for almost half the year. Thank God the holidays are round the corner. I’ll put it down in writing.

There’s this draft that needs a complete re-do.
When?
The holidays, of course.

There’s a whole bunch of scraps of ideas scattered all over my drafts section. Have to sort through them. Will get to them when I can stay home-bound all day long with a cup of hot cocoa.
In the holidays.

With the idea of the holidays comes the idea of infinite time, of infinite leisure, of an infinite ability to address those backlogs that are outside our daily sphere of activities on regular days. We hope we can get to them all at once when infinite time is just round the corner along with friends, festivities and food.

Really?

Bad idea.

Why? Because it’s the devil’s own way to a sure purgatory of guilt and dissatisfaction by the time January rolls around.

Christmas tree
Party!

Should we have no writing plan at all for the holidays then?

Not really. I think we can have a plan.

Except that the plan needs to be a little subtle. As befits a writer. The following is based on experience (real or imagined ♥)

The Do’s

Plan to boost your creativity in the holidays through thinking that goes on in the back of your mind with cake, cookies and friends. You don’t necessarily have to put your thoughts down somewhere or even be goal-oriented about your ideas. Yet, a different set of activities might trigger fresh, new ideas.

Plan to rest. Just detaching yourself from the work of writing might make you rediscover the pleasure. What if this makes you arrive at the epiphany you’ve been working hard to find through drudge work?

Observe the world
. So much of writing is about people, relationships, events, nature and travel. Go out there and interact with the world.  You will automatically find things to write about later.

The Don’t’s

Don’t do the drudge work during the holidays such as sorting, editing, moving paragraphs around unless you absolutely have to. You’ll sacrifice the holiday spirit, feel like you’re working harder than usual, get no rest at all and yet yield no more results than you will on usual days.

Don’t plan for next year, at least not until the holidays are just over. Making big plans in a holiday mood often turn out overambitious or stressful.

Don’t network for the sake of networking. An impersonal e card or a mass email ends up saying “Look, I exist but you’re not important enough to be addressed by name.” Most people don’t need that. It certainly does not help a friendship.

Writing is about life. So live a little during the holidays.

What do you think?

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15 thoughts on “Writing in the holidays”

  1. I just had this conversation with my mom today, and I totally agree. The expectation we hold for the holidays compared to the reality are quite a world apart. But as long as we get to relax a little, it’s worth it!

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  2. Great advice. :0) I don’t drink any more or I’d get rip-roaring tankered on the upcoming holiday (stressful family much?) but you have loads of good advice here that I’ll take. I particularly like the suggestion of not doing typical grunt work on a holiday. I’m a bit of an over-achiever and so this especially applies to me. I think I’ll have some hot chocolate (cheers!) and carry on with Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. (Yes. I’m finally getting around to reading it after 35 years…heheh.) xo Merry Christmas, and it’s great to meet you. :0)

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  3. Reblogged this on Self Publishing Made Simple and commented:
    Anyone that loves writing must set aside a time to write, and a time for family. One may tend to get caught up in their stories and before long, hours has past. The holidays should be a time to spend with family but that doesn’t mean you have to put your passion on hold. You can enjoy writing, family, holidays and everything else in between if you set a time limit on writing this season. Happy Holidays!

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  4. This is great. I do appreciate the time off from work to be present in life: with family, with making (food, art, home), reflecting, and of course writing. Your post is a good reminder that we should be flexible with ourselves (and our writing).

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  5. The holiday season is pretty crazy all right! Trying to fit three month’s worth of visits, parties, and other festivities into 10 days is pretty nuts. Choose your activities wisely and carve out some quiet time too. There’s a lot to be said about reflecting.

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  6. I agree! I won’t be blogging much for the next week or so, which will give me some time…but that time will be spent with family and friends so it all comes out the same. I will bring my computer along just in case I have some down time, but I’m not expecting to get anything done. Hope you have a great holiday!

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  7. I could not agree more! Just because you aren’t physically doing the process of writing, does not mean you aren’t still able to keep your brain from turning over new fresh idea’s. The perfect guilt-free time off is the holidays. Seize the opportunity presented to you and recharge your batteries and maybe even gain a few extra pounds from those christmas cookies 😉

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  8. Totally agree. Thinking that a surplus of free time will equal fantastic writing returns is akin to thinking ‘I’ll be happy when X condition is fulfilled’.

    Loved your points. Very helpful. Hope you have a productive holiday season!

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  9. So much if writing involves your #3 “Do”. I think that’s why I do not the idea of writing as a “job”. It would ruin the subtlety, make it soulless and I have chosen not to do it. A friend once told me that anything worthy of being witnessed, expressed, shared takes time. We writers are like fine wine and take time to develop into the best bouquet.

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