This time of year is typically a busy one. There are parties, family gatherings, and SO MUCH to prep and eat! No matter what you celebrate (or even if you don’t), the world tends to feel much busier than usual.
I wrote this post with the holidays in mind, but it could also be adapted for any busy season or time of year. Getting work done when life is particularly hectic can be hard but it’s not possible! And it’s important not to let a time like this blow up your writing goals.
Here are seven tips to help you keep writing during the holiday season.
1) Cut down on writing time (but protect the time you have)
It’s okay if you have to cut back on writing. You can’t do everything and be everywhere. Sacrifices may have to be made in order to meet holiday obligations, but it’s important not to cut writing time out entirely. And while you may need to reallocate some of your writing time to holiday activities, I would suggest you be SUPER protective of the writing time you do put aside for yourself. This may mean saying no to last-minute requests or activities. If your writing is important to you, it’s up to you to protect any time you can get, even now.
2) Spend time with your family/friends
With that said, it is the holidays and family and friends are important. Make time for them! This has two benefits. First, these moments and events are exactly the types of things you may want to write about someday. In order to write, you need to live and experience. Second, I’ve found that if you make time for people, they are much more respectful of any time you take for yourself to go write. This way, you get your writing time in without someone knocking on your door to bake cookies. It will be known that you’re writing for half an hour, then you’ll be free for baking.
3) Consider a serious schedule (even if you’re not a scheduler)
The holiday season means time is even more limited than usual. One way to manage is by being smarter and more purposeful about how you spend your time. Consider making a daily schedule–even if you’re not a scheduler–and sticking to it. This will help you get all of your tasks accomplished while still making time to write!
4) If you’re traveling, make the most of your time in transit
Don’t let your travel time be a waste! If you’re flying, make it a point to work during the flight. If you’re driving, see if someone else can drive. Traveling can be hectic, especially at a busy time of year. This is one of the best ways to also make it productive. It can also make it more enjoyable. If traffic is terrible or your flight is delayed, it means you get more time to write! It also means you’ll have less work to do once you get to your destination.
5) Let writing be a break from the craziness
When you’re going in fifteen different directions and have a never-ending to-do list, it can be incredibly refreshing to take half an hour to escape. Let writing be an anchor to your normal everyday life. Let writing slow your crazy busy day down a fraction. Be fifteen minutes late to the party and write. I find when I do this I’m often more relaxed and more social when I get to where I’m going.
6) Don’t be Grinch
As much as it’s important to keep writing during the holiday season, it’s also important to be flexible and forgiving about your goals. Somedays you might not write as much as you want to. Let that be okay. Try not to be a frustrated grumpy grinch if you constantly fall behind. No one will like you! I’ve also noticed that people are less likely to support you and your goals if they feel like these goals make you a miserable person. Protect your time. Make it a point to write. But don’t beat yourself up or take it out on your family and friends if you don’t get as much done as you hoped. Let yourself off the hook and let it be enough that you moved your project forward–even if it’s just a fraction.
7) Enjoy the holidays and be present for them!
Even if you’re behind in you’re writing, show up for your holiday events and be present for them. These types of gatherings are half the reasons we have stories in the first place. If your head is in your writing or you’re feeling guilty because you didn’t meet your goal for the day, then you’re likely missing out on an experience that could play a key role in a story down the line. Be present and take it all in.
As always, I hope this helps!
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Now it’s your turn: How do you keep working during a holiday/busy season? Do you have any tips you can share? Tell me about it in the comments!