Thursday, December 26, 2019

Writing during the holidays

There were no questions for O'Abby this week, so I thought with the holiday period upon us, it might be useful to give a few tips around writing during the holidays.  I had meant to publish this last week, but just noticed it didn't actually publish...  Better late than never, eh?

The holiday season can be a very busy and stressful time.  It may mean traveling to visit family or having a houseful of guests.  If you're a writer, especially one on deadline, it can be hard to carve out time and space to get writing work done.

If it is at all possible, my advice would be to give yourself a break.  There is enough going on at this time of year without stressing about writing as well.  But if you are on a deadline and need to work during this time, you're going to need some strategies to deal with this.

If you are traveling to be with family, you may be able to use the travel time to write (not if you're driving though... that would be dangerous).  If not, bring your laptop or notebooks with you and once you arrive, suss out a quiet writing spot you can claim.  Make sure your family understands that your writing is important and that if you're working, you shouldn't be disturbed. Or even better, see if there is a coffee shop or library nearby you could work in so you're away from all the disruptions and mayhem.  It's amazing what you can get done with just an hour or two of uninterrupted, quiet. Grandparents can be godsends so make sure you use them if they're around.

If your home is the destination for out-of-town guests, you may need to juggle things even more.  You may need to get up early to squeeze your writing time in around all your other commitments.  But remember, it's only for a short time and if it's important, you will do it.  You may also be able to sneak away for an hour or two here and there if you have willing family members available to take care of kids etc.

The important thing is not to panic.  Maybe you will lose a few hours of working time you thought you might have.  Maybe you'll even lose a whole week.  It's okay.  You can make it up later, once the madness of the holidays is over (assuming your deadline isn't early January...  If it is, you really should have scheduled your time so you'd be 99% done before the holidays started.).  In the weeks after the holidays, figure out places you can steal time to write to make up for the time you lost.  Early mornings, lunch breaks, commuting time on public transport - all the places I suggested you use to write your NaNo projects.  You can get a lot done in very small scraps of time if you're determined.

Most of all, enjoy your holiday, however you celebrate it.



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