To paraphrase a famous writer: “It is the best of times; it is the worst of times.” The holiday season is a magical period, filled with bright lights, shopping trips for loved ones, cherished family traditions, and elaborate meal preparations and plans.
Beneath the frigidly cold weather, and all the hustle and bustle, there’s a warmth, generosity of spirit, “and goodwill toward men” that prevails. And it brings out the best in most of us.
Which is why the holiday season for many, is both a blessing and a burden. Particularly for today’s writer.
On the one hand, there’s an array of “Kodak moments” we seek to capture as creative individuals, (during this special time), to “frame” our experiences and later share in the way of blog posts, personal essays, columns, or _________ fill in the blank. On the other hand, there’s so much to accomplish in a limited space.
How do we find the time, discipline, and energy to write, when we are stuffed with turkey, mashed potatoes, apple pie, spiked punch—“as visions of sugar plums dance in our heads?” Not to mention, if we lose our “mo-jo,” there’s typically a loss of cash flow.
The reality of freelance writing is a pretty simple equation. No output=no income. True?
With this in mind, here are a few suggestions to maintain your writing groove and your sanity during the holiday season.
1. Keep a journal.
Journals are great for penning random thoughts, passing observations, bits and pieces of conversations, recipes, future blog posts, and ideas to later build upon.
2. Keep proper perspective.
Writing during the holidays and spending quality time with loved ones doesn’t have to be an “either or proposition.” You can do both. Carve out pieces of time to be alone and pen your thoughts; early morning or late night when everyone else is in bed are both ideal opportunities to create in solitude.
3. Pace yourself.
Write as much as you can, but don’t feel obligated to write every. single. day. Unless you are under pressure of a deadline with an editor or publisher, try to go with the flow. Relaxed writing often produces quality results.
4. Work smarter, not harder.
Consider re-working a piece you wrote previously by adding more current statistics, or re-slant an article for a different market, or schedule your blog posts in advance.
Here’s what some “seasoned” writers polled had to share on the subject as well.
According to Marcie Hill, (author and blogger at Marcie Writes), we should: “Take a break from writing, document sources of inspiration for future topics and be ready to go at the beginning of the year.” Additionally, she recommends that we “network.”
Maribel Steele, (from Australia, and expert writer at About.com)
“I like to write early in the day and then I can give myself a reward of
some kind later on. So for me, keeping up the writing momentum is managing time, letting my family know my very specific writing days and then doing those family
things on other ‘days off’ to feel I can fit all my varied commitments
into each week. When we have a family plan, it works so much better this
And Sioux R. (writer and educator) shares this tip: “Nibble on chocolate-covered espresso beans. After enjoying just three of them, you’ll have the energy to write for a week without rest.”
So don’t let the holidays be a time of stress and regrets. Eat, drink, be merry, and write!