I’ll be honest with you – I don’t really write during the holidays. But let me elaborate – I want to get to my story. My writing is my priority. Currently, I’m still outlining my latest book and plan on upgrading my computer very soon. There are a lot of variables distracting me from the actual storytelling part (which is, obviously not ideal). But I’m choosing to be a little extra nice to myself over the course of this season, because it is these little breaks that allow me to fuel up for the next page-turner.
For those of you lucky ones knee-deep in a concept during this particularly busy season, I both envy you – and also don’t. I’ve been running around like crazy to get my freelancing done within the time frame it’s needed by. It’s all fulfilling, of course – but it’s just not an easy time to focus on my concept.
Writing is hard enough on its own. Add in holiday stress and other variables into the mix, forget about it! But it doesn’t have to always be this way. I’m not sure I’ll personally be able to squeeze in anything besides creative content writing between now and Christmas, but you totally should! This week, I’m sharing my best tips for optimizing busy schedules to nurture your writing habits.
Optimize your focus patterns.
Are you a night owl, or an early bird? This is a huge part of what you can do to make your writing time work for you. The key is to work with your body and mind, instead of against it. So if you’re like me and do your best work at 1am, then you have my permission to delay your bedtime a bit in the name of creativity. But if you’re the opposite and like to be up before the sun even rises, then I would recommend grabbing a cup of coffee with your laptop. Whichever you choose, mindfulness is key – and you can’t go wrong!
Ask family for feedback on your writing.
Instead of griping about extended family crashing at your place, why not let them in on the fun? That’s right – I’m saying, have them read a portion of your work and share their reactions. If they’re willing to check it out, you just scored yourself some free feedback. Plus, your dinner conversation is guaranteed to suck significantly less. A book is a much more exciting topic than being asked for the umpteenth time why you’re still single. Trust me – no one likes that sentiment less than I do. Bringing your family into your creative space will also bring you all closer together. So have fun with them during their visit!
Break out of what you think your story should be.
I’m not saying to get too avant-garde here – but I think deconstructing your story can be helpful. Instead of staring blankly at your computer screen, why not make a collage on the floor with the kids? You can babysit AND brainstorm at the same time – that’s a win! Plus, when you step away from your laptop and live life, you refill the creative tanks. At your family holiday gatherings, why not people watch? Suddenly, Uncle Gary’s weird nose-picking habit is a hilarious tick for one of your side-characters. Or maybe Aunt Martha’s mysterious meatloaf casserole is the antidote for a horrible poison.
This time of year is a hardcore mishmash of precedented unprecedented moments. Even if you might not be in the mood to increase your wordcount, prepping your ideas also counts. So don’t be afraid to embrace all the chaos of the season with open arms. At the very least, you’ll be well-rested with some great real-life anecdotes to add to your next story. For more about optimizing this time of year in a new way, read this recent article. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!