For some of us staying with a regular writing practice is a challenge at the best of times. So what do we do when the holidays come with their time demands and additional madness? Following are a few suggestions.
•Set writing appointments with yourself and put them on your calendar. There’s something about seeing an appointment printed on a calendar that makes it more compelling than simply a mental note to write “sometime.” And you know how easy it is to lose those mental notes-to-self.
•Make writing dates with friends. This makes the time even more compelling. Breaking a date with a friend is way more complicated than breaking a date with ourselves. Even if you don’t meet in person, you can make a virtual date. Check in before and after; celebrate each other.
•Create a writing retreat of half a day, a day, whatever you can. When there’s so much to do for others, it’s easy to wind up running on empty. We need to refill our wells. Take a deep breath, take your notebook or laptop and take at least a few hours for yourself.
(I’ll be leading a special Winter Solstice Writing Retreat at San Diego Writers, Ink on Tuesday evening, December 20, from 6 – 9 pm. Here’s where you can get more information and register for the evening retreat.)
•Set a deadline with serious consequences. I don’t mean self-flagellation, but putting a few bucks in a jar if you miss a deadline might help keep your eye on the prize.
•Challenge yourself to a word count for the month (you did it for NaNo; just lighten up the requirement for December). Set up a reporting system with a writing pal. Or go public on Facebook.
•Give yourself rewards for meeting your writing commitment. Gold stars on my calendar have worked for me. I’m not kidding. I get a big ol’ grin going when I see several days in a row all aglitter. What’s your pleasure? A chunk of chocolate? A glass of something delicious? A nap under a hand-crocheted afghan?
•Create writing gifts for friends and family, a short story or flash memoir or poem that you put on pretty paper or make into bookart. You’ll get some good writing done, you won’t have to go shopping and imagine how delighted someone will be with your gift of writing. Here’s an easy template from Poets & Writers with a video demo.
•If you’re in San Diego come to Thursday Writers, Tuesday Brown Bag, or Pen to Paper. If you’re not in San Diego, write with us wherever you are. Thursday Writers posts their prompt every week on their Facebook page.
Speaking of holiday bookart gifts, I’ve created a little palm-sized booklet of “A Visit from Saint Nicholas (in the Manner of Ernest Hemingway”) by James Thurber, as my gift to you. Click here to download the pdf, then go to Poets & Writers (images 13-18) to learn how to fold it into a booklet pocket-sized booklet. Happy Holidays!
How do you plan to keep your writing mojo going during the holidays?