’Tis the season for gatherings, traveling, shopping, baking, fa-la-la-ing, and more! With so much to do, you might notice your scheduled “butt in chair” writing time is being hijacked for wrapping gifts, icing the cinnamon rolls, and other holiday tasks. At Writer’s Relief, we know it can be difficult to stick to your regular writing schedule right now. But you don’t want to lose your momentum or put your writing on the back burner. Here are our best tips on how to sidestep distractions and keep writing during the holiday hubbub.
How To Keep Writing During The Busy Holidays
Plan ahead. If you’re in charge of the family potluck dinner or providing cupcakes for the student production of A Christmas Carol, hit the kitchen a few days in advance—you can always freeze a casserole ahead of time. Start gift shopping early (just remember where you hide everything!). You’ll thank yourself for the time you saved when you’re ready to write!
Be flexible about your writing schedule. Maybe you typically write every Saturday afternoon for two hours, or Wednesday nights right after dinner. But during the holiday season, you may have errands that take up your weekend afternoons or holiday activities occurring on weeknights. If you can’t stick to your original writing schedule, make a new one for the holidays! You can find more time in your days by creating a time budget: for instance, switching to writing first thing in the morning or every other week. Keep your goals realistic during these busy days.
Turn travel time into writing time. Planning a long car ride to your in-laws’ or flying cross-country to visit friends? On the way to your destination—write! You can find new writing opportunities and ideas while on the move. Be sure to bring a laptop, a notebook, or a writing app on your commute so you can jot down notes while checking out the scenery and people-watching for inspiration.
Learn to juggle. OK, not literally (although twirling typewriters through the air would make your holiday gatherings memorable!). Multitask: If you’re on the phone listening to never-ending hold music or are timing the potato pancakes, put the phone on speaker and free-write or jot down ideas. You can also take your laptop outside when supervising the kids playing in the yard and use the time to edit your latest short story, essay, poem, or chapter.
And while you’re walking the dog, folding laundry, decking the halls, or even driving, use a hands-free dictation app to keep working on your writing project. You can decorate the Christmas tree or set out the menorah as you hash out your next big plot twist!
Recharge—take a break. This one may seem counterintuitive, but taking a short break from your writing will help you avoid burnout and stay fresh and energized. Don’t force yourself to write if you’d rather join in on the family’s tradition of playing charades. Give 100 percent of yourself to your family and friends during visits or the family reunion, and it will be easier to give 100 percent of yourself to your writing when the time comes.
Use an “assistant.” Save time for writing by enlisting the skills of the store’s gift-wrapping service, or use decorative boxes or gift bags. Purchase your cookies or cake from the bakery, and the hours you would have spent in the kitchen can instead be spent at your keyboard. Assign decorating duties to family, or cut back on how many outdoor lights you put up.
You can even hire a skilled assistant to do all the hours of research needed to target the best literary journals or agents for your writing submissions. The elves here at Writer’s Relief will research and prepare your submissions so you can use your writing time exclusively for writing! You’ll get more work done—and boost your odds of getting an acceptance as well. Submit your writing sample to our Review Board today!
With only so many hours in a day, it can be hard to find time to write during the holidays. Use these tips to ensure your writing doesn’t fall to the wayside while you’re enjoying the festivities and spending time with your loved ones.
Question: How do you find time to write during the holidays?