Writing During the Holiday Season

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Today is the last day of November, which means it’s the final day of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. I wrote a post at the beginning of November about this writing challenge, and I even signed up for it myself. However, it was a complete fail on my part. Total and utter fail. November has traditionally been a lost month of writing for me, and this was no different. Today I’m going to share what went wrong and how I intend to make December work better. If you recognize yourself as someone who struggles with writing during the holiday season, read on. Maybe we can come up with a plan together.

NaNoWriMo Fail

I thought that signing up for NaNoWriMo would give me an extra layer of incentive to keep my nose to the grindstone. Usually I totally give up because there is no time. This year, I lied to myself and said it’d be different. “We’re not traveling for Thanksgiving,” I said. “Focusing on writing will take the edge off politics and the election,” I said. Oh, my intentions were pure. Too bad they ended in a predictable flop.

If NaNoWriMo motivates you, that’s awesome. If you, like me, are bombarded with holiday obligations, homeschooling, COVID-issues, day job things, etc, and November wasn’t your most productive month, I recommend giving yourself a break. There were so many expected and unexpected roadblocks that I wasn’t able to push through. It’s going to be okay. I’ve always thought November was a horrible time to try and write a book, and my opinion hasn’t changed. You know what’s a good time? Any time that doesn’t involve the holiday season.

Getting Over Myself

My next challenge is getting over myself. November has always been psycho busy, and it remains so. If you are a person (probably a woman) who mostly oversees the kids, holidays, gift-giving, etc, it’s just time-consuming. I’m giving myself permission to let it go, but that’s hard. I feel conflicted because even though I understand why I was so unproductive (writing-wise) in November, I’m still disappointed in myself. However, these emotions are a waste of time. Sometimes other parts of life take precedence. It’s okay to not be perfect, so long as you make a realistic plan going forward.

A December to Remember

Normally I understand perfectly well that I’m simply busy in November and December. I travel a lot, have present duty, have party planning, etc, to contend with, deadlines at my day job, and I therefore have no expectations of myself. This year is different. I finished a draft of my new manuscript in October. I thought my agent would love it. She came back to me with significant revisions. I want more than anything to get them done, but I’m finding it hard. I’m disappointed it didn’t turn out as well as I thought it did, which is also making me second-guess myself.

I know from experience that the best way to get over this feeling is to get through it. The more I work on this project, the less anxious I’ll feel about it because I’ll know that I’m actively doing something to solve the problem. Stewing does nothing. Action gets results. That’s why I’m making a plan for December. My son is in school (hopefully) for three full weeks before the holiday. I can devote at least two hours a day to this project, and I will. What’s done is done with November, but I can make the next month productive…and so can you.

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About Author

Mary is a young adult writer and archaeologist. By day she teaches at a local college, and by night she writes about the adventures of adolescence.

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