How will you keep writing during the holidays?

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?

cup of coffee with chocolate cookies on wood

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.

260px-santa_claus_and_his_reindeerSpeaking 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?


9 thoughts on “How will you keep writing during the holidays?

  1. I’d like to expand on this since I often ask myself why in the blazes am I writing a novel and how is that particular story going to serve the Kingdom or even my own kingdom. And then I remember it is not up to me to change the world but if I can touch one reader and enhance their vision of that world then I’ve served the Kingdom too. So I plod through another thousand words and leave my mess on my work bench along with my reader glasses. Yes. Writers touch the world. One plod at a time.

    • and on we plod… boats against the tide. Or something like that. Yes, your story is important. If it won’t let you alone and MUST be told, then we have to do it. Never mind the outcome, just write the thing. (words to self this morning as my pages sit on my table, breathing their little gasps.)

  2. Great article and I’ve asked Santa for the Daily Appointment Calendar. It is so easy to let writing fall to the wayside, especially in the holiday season; I’ve marked the Thursday night writers in my calendar….are there any times you won’t be meeting during the holidays?

    • Hi Susanne, Thanks for your comment. We’d be delighted to have you join us for Thursday Writers. We’ll be there right through the holidays and into the New Year, so any Thursday at 5 you want to stop by, please do. Bring your notebook (or your laptop) and join us.

  3. I’m going to New York City for the first time for Christmas, and will be bringing my writing notebook – I know I’m going to be so inspired by the sights, so very excited for this time!

  4. I leave my notebooks and pens and pages on my workbench aka dining table and wander back and forth. The writing ambience was here long before I, after all.

    • Hi Linda,
      Thanks for the comment & yes… leave it all out, leave a big mess of it out for easy access and impromptu sessions. Amazing what can get down in a quickie 20 minute write.

      • Hi Judy,
        The work bench nowadays includes watercolour pencils and those of charcoal along with brushes and sketch pad. And I found a use for my cardboard chocolate wrappers, the ones with the red chili pepper on the front. They are perfect for blotting when someone insists on painting on sketch paper instead of ripping out onto that beautiful painting paper.

        One fear crushed at a time. One more pepper eaten.

        Merry Christmas, Judy. You da best.

Comments are closed.