The Gift of Flexibility: Writing During the Holidays

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One of the busiest times of year is upon us—the holiday season—which comes with whole stockingfuls of stressors and things to do. Add writing to the list and…well…you might feel like you’re spread just a little too thin. But since this is the season for gifting, let me suggest that you gift yourself one this holiday: the gift of flexibility.

Whether you’re on a self-imposed deadline or just don’t want to have a month-long gap in your writing schedule, writing with flexibility can be the key to peace of mind this time of year. Here’s why:

Flexible goals leave space for things to “come up”

During the holidays, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed with requests for your attention. Some are possible to plan but some catch you by surprise. As a mom of five, I’m constantly amazed at how little time there is to squeeze in all the traditions that I have in mind to do with my family. Whether it’s a last-minute cookie bake or jumping in the car to go see Christmas lights, I don’t want to miss making memories with my children because I set a hard word count goal for the day.

So I set flexible word count goals. This could mean I set a goal of writing a certain number of words in a week—and fit it in when I can. Or this could be that I just plan on being easy on myself if I come up a little short on that weekly goal.

Flexibility can help us be creative

The fact is, creatives aren’t exactly in control of what activities beget creativity. I don’t know about you, but I can get a great story idea anywhere. Plot problems can dissolve in the most random locations—like a long drive or sitting watching a play.

I strongly believe that leisure time and creativity go hand-in-hand. Being flexible allows us some of that much-needed time off to reset and rest from constantly being “on” creatively.

So let yourself step away. Who knows? You might end up finding that time away sparks your best idea yet.

Getting the perspective

When you have flexibility in your holiday writing schedule, the beauty of it is that it allows you to consider doing things you might normally say no to. Whether it’s spending time with a friend or writing those Christmas cards you keep putting off—it’s a lot easier to say yes when you don’t have a hard mental deadline hanging over your head.

But it may also help you remember why you started writing. Most writers write because they love it. For some of us, it’s a form of therapy. For others, it’s just wonderfully cathartic. Or maybe dreaming in front of a keyboard or pen is our favorite hobby.

Whatever the reason is, if you’ve been at it a while, there’s a chance you may have lost some of that joy to the publishing deadlines or stress of the business of writing. Or maybe you just don’t remember fully why you put yourself through all this.

Having the ability to step away from one thing you love to do other things you love can help a lot with perspective. It can help you remember why you started writing. It may also help you remember who you started writing for.

But above all—it may help you remember that writing is supposed to be fun. And what a better time of year to rediscover the joy of writing then during the holiday season.

Happy Holidays and happy writing! (Or not writing!)

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About Author

Annabelle McCormack is an author and photographer from Baltimore, Maryland. When she's not busy writing, she's chasing around her five kids and enjoying life in the country. To follow her journey, check out @annabellemccormack on Instagram, where she posts regularly about her adventures.

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