Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5 Tips for Writing through the Holidays

We all run into it -- the busy, busy period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.  How can you find time for writing during those hours when the days grow shorter and the "to do" lists grow longer? That doesn't include those couple of weeks when relatives are coming to visit or the kids are out of school.  How can you find time to devote to yourself, let alone your writing or writing projects.

Here are five tips to survive the Holidays and still come out ahead once you've drunk your last drop of eggnog or champagne and eaten that last cookie or piece of holiday candy.

1. Schedule at least half an hour of the day for some writing time.  I don't normally schedule when I am going to write. I like to let the muse strike me, but sometimes if people are in from out of town or if the kids are around for days on end, you need to schedule some time away from everything and for yourself. Scheduling first thing in the morning or getting up before everyone is up can work. I always do that when visiting. I get up early and get in a little time for writing.

2.  Work on editing yesterday's material or your NaNoWriMo book when you're waiting. How many times do we have to sit and wait while presents are wrapped or when meeting someone for dinner and they're late. If you save your work to your phone or ipad you can keep it with you and look over your writing and make notes on what needs fixing.  I keep a little notebook handy in my purse at all times for making notes or even writing while waiting.

3. Don't try to work on something new -- finish up an old project. This can be the editing on that November novel you wrote, or it can be something you want to have done to submit in the new year. If it's already edited, put it in your phone and again, read it when you have a few moments to see how it will look and feel for readers when they buy it for their kindles and e-readers.

4.  Try outlining a new project to get started in the new year.  If you're almost finished with this year's work, it's a good time to look forward and start thinking about what you want to start writing come January 1st.

5.  Get some inspiration from the craziness around you.  Holiday shopping is a great time for watching people and situations.  I'm a constant eavesdropper so if I hear a mother correcting her kid in the booth next to me at a restaurant, I'm not above writing down her better lines. Listen and learn from the relatives who come to visit. Pick the brains of those who might have a special knowledge of what you're writing or want to write next. Or look over the crazy relatives and think of how you might place them in a story!

Lots of writing fodder out there during the holidays. Keep your writing eyes and ears open and look for ideas to use in the new year.

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