Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Your Writing Time Shouldn't Just Be Leftovers: 5 Tips for Getting Writing Done During the Holidays!

Family get-togethers... But I just want to write...
by Sean Taylor

If you've been writing for any length of time, you know already how difficult it can be to create those magical blocks of time to commit to the actual task of sitting in front of the keyboard and writing. Particularly if you don't do it full-time, and you have to eke out moments of uninterrupted keyboard (or notepad for you Luddites) time.

But then.

BAM. 

B. A. Freakin' M.

Your writing train gets stopped cold by a herd of reindeer that won't move from the tracks. It's the holidays.

And all that little bit of leftover time for creating worlds and heroes and lovers and dragons and magic and dreams suddenly fills up with family events, shopping for gifts, and what feels like a million other things. And what's worse, it's time taken up by good things, so you can feel guilty about still wanting that time with the imaginary when there are so many, once a year good things that need doing. After all, you can get back the desk after New Year's Day, right? That's what resolutions are for, you know.

Bah humbug.

I choose to get grumpy and sulk (at least inside) about how little time I have to write. But how do I fix that and still make time to do that writing thing that we feel so called to do?

The following are only suggestions, and feel free to love them, ignore them, adapt them, or mix and match them with your own. The important thing is that you write... yes, even during the holidays.

School parties for the kids... But my story needs an ending...
1. Express to your family how important your calling to write is. Explain that regard of how much or how little you make from it, it's not a hobby. It's a drive. It's part of who you are. And just like you wouldn't dare ask your mom to step out of the kitchen and not make date-nut balls for the neighbors, you also wouldn't dare not take the time to do the thing that makes you, well, you.

2. Be portable. If you have to do a lot of traveling, take a laptop. Or get a Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet or smartphone. If you have to, write longhand on a notepad or in a notebook. However you do it, write.

3. Take advantage of mornings and evenings. If the family chooses to sleep in during the holidays, get up early, put on a pot of coffee or tea, and use the alone time to put words to paper. Even if it means you have to change your schedule. If they rise early and go to bed early, then flip that plan over to the darker times of evening. Instead of resting in front of the TV or binging Netflix, get in front of your small screen and tell the stories bottled up inside you.

4. If you don't have an inner ear problem or a queasy stomach, use the traveling office and let your significant other drive. (For the record, the traveling office is the passenger seat in your car.) Those hours driving over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house don't have to be lost.

5. Ask for a "Christmas present" of a block of undisturbed hours as one of your gifts during the holidays. You'll save a loved one some money AND pick up some time to put your characters through their paces.

So that's it. And don't worry about your plot notes getting lost. Just hide 'em under the fruitcake. Nobody will ever find them there.

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