As if being a writer isn't challenging enough, the holiday season is now upon us. You're now taking care of some or all of the following: shopping, wrapping, mailing gifts, traveling to see relatives, hosting meals, preparing for parties and more. The extra responsibilities can easily overtake your life, and the urge to abandon your writing goals during this time of year can be strong—but don't. You can write and it will make you feel better! Here are some suggestions for end-of-the-year writing:
*Intend to write. If you want to write despite and through the season's challenges, then first decide that's what you want to do. Intend to write in in December. Choose to make it happen. Your intention will guide you to the right action.
*Try new tricks. Writing during the last part of the year may require a different way of doing things. Maybe you don’t usually get up early to write, but for this one month or two, you'll need to. To accomplish writing goals by year end, get creative with your schedule and be willing to forgo some of your usual activities.
*Write as a stress reliever. Even doing a little bit of your regular writing can make you feel good. “Doing what you love will make you feel more energized for tackling your holiday chores,” says writer Debbie Fox, in her blog. She suggests that you turn off the holiday music while you write, too. “You don’t need to be reminded of all you still have to do. Forget about your lists—they won’t grow any longer during the few minutes you write.”
* Stay in touch. Your writer friends are facing the same challenges, so check in with them by phone or e-mail. Tell each other what you're working on and how it's going. Hearing about each other people's weekly goals and small successes can be very motivating.
*Push aside your excuses. During this hectic time, you'll need to move past your (often legitimate) excuses not to write. Creativity coach and author Eric Maisel suggests adding the phrase “but I will write anyway” to any writing obstacles. For example, “Yes, I am tired tonight, BUT I will write anyway.” “Yes, it’s been a stressful day and my nerves are raw, BUT I will write anyway, at least for a few minutes.”
*Ask for support. Are there some things that you can delegate to your spouse or kids to free up a little bit of writing time? Whether it's wrapping gifts or stamping envelopes, many hands make light work. Also, tell your partner what you're up against, and what kind of writing time you need. Your creative work is worth making time for.
*Commit to small sessions. Try writing in short, fifteen minute blocks of time—you can probably squeeze that in. Also, keep your notebook handy or computer document open, so that you can dive into your project whenever you have a chance. Even making daily notes or freewriting is important. If you keep the writing muscle active, and plant small seeds for future projects, you'll be ready to work when the New Year comes.
Good luck, and keep writing!
Marcia Peterson is the editor of WOW! Women on Writing's blog, The Muffin. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters.
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Never Stale! The Muffin provides daily writing tips, inspiration, and news from the bakers of WOW! Women On Writing.