Hey writers! Do you plan to work over the holiday season? Or, do you feel pre-guilty for even contemplating not doing it? Writing over the holidays is a personal choice, and this year, I’m choosing to not worry about it. If you’re planning the next three weeks and aren’t sure what to do, here’s how I made peace with focusing on what’s in front of me this holiday season.
Holiday Resolution #1: No Negative Self Talk
I’ve made the mistake so many times in the past of telling myself it was lazy/unproductive/etc. to not at least try to write during the holidays. It’s just not true. I’m not on an actual deadline, and if I were, I’d move it. The truth is, my schedule does not allow for writing and travel/visiting family/cooking/caring for a little one/spreading cheer. It doesn’t happen when I talk mean to myself. It doesn’t happen because I wrote down the intention. It doesn’t happen when I make promises. None of the usual tricks give me more hours in the day. Period. All it does is make me feel bad about myself, which is not productive. The outcome is the same, aka, little to no writing output. However, doing it without guilt makes me enjoy my Christmas season more and be excited/ready to go in the new year.
Holiday Resolution #2: Live in the Moment
Last year was stressful because, for the first time ever, we didn’t travel to see family. I was sad about it and teared up every time “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” came on the radio. On the other hand, I had some time to write. That was nice. However, to be honest, I’d rather be with friends and family, enjoying the season more. It’s only a couple of weeks of the year, and my son is still young. The season is magical, and I want to do all the parties and get-togethers that didn’t feel like a smart option last year. My point is: I’m going to enjoy the holidays. I won’t have any alone time for the next two weeks, and instead of seeing that as dragging down my career or my potential, I’m going to be grateful and enjoy this moment.
Holiday Resolution #3: Honesty About Time
We go to my parents’ house for Christmas, and that means a household full of people. My sisters and in-laws are nearby, as are my friends from high school. This is my chance to see loved ones, and Grandma and Grandpa’s place is not super big. In other words, alone time isn’t a thing. I only see my family a couple of times a year, so I don’t envision a scenario where I’m going to find quiet time while we’re there. I’m my young son’s primary care giver, and I want to do all of the fun seasonal activities with him. The truth is that I won’t have extra time, and it’s okay. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that when there’s an opportunity to be with loved ones and enjoy something special—take it. You never know when you’ll get the next chance.
My reality isn’t everyone’s. There are probably many scenarios where writing over the holidays makes sense, and if you can do it, that’s great. There’s a lot of relief in creating when that’s who you are. The thing is, we’re all writers. Writing is important to us, even those who have busy holiday schedules. So if you’re like me, and you’ve got a lot going on in the next couple of weeks, just relax. You’ll get back after it once the holidays are over. You might even be more engaged than ever. Happy holidays!