The holidays are nearly on us, and with them come extra work decorating the house, the lawn, the trees, baking all those Christmas cookies and goodies, shopping, cleaning, holiday parties to attend and give, and scads of other things that can take you away from your WIP. This year give yourself a little motivation to sit down at the computer and keep writing. Start planning now for a successful holiday writing season.
Here are a few tips on how to motivate yourself to write during the holidays.
- Start your holiday motivation by making a holiday advent writing calendar. Choose a series of 25 clear writing goals for the holiday season and write them down on holiday themed paper. It doesn’t matter if it’s a chapter a day, 100 or 1000 words a day, perfecting that blurb or synopsis, or looking up a new editor or agent to submit to in January. Drop the goals into a bowl and pick one each day. Not knowing what you are going to do will keep the excitement alive, much like opening the doors on the Advent calendar does for children. If your family already has an advent calendar when you set it up add your goals to the calendar. Let the family number your advent goal papers so you will be surprised when you open them. This way the family can see what you need to accomplish and help keep you on track.
- Let Santa’s “writing elf” reward you with a little gift under the tree, or holiday snack set next to your easy chair, for each goal or week of goals you complete. Shop for your own rewards in advance, involve the family and let them choose or make the gifts for you, or do both.
- Head to Panera’s (or some other location that has a fireplace), grab a seat next to the fire and write until the heat overtakes you. If you work on your steamy love scenes it might not take long for you to get overheated. Then call it a day and have a Chai Latte while you watch the flames flicker.
- Leave the decorations off of the Christmas tree and put a few ornaments on every time you write 100, 200, 300, or 400 words—you choose the limit. Store the decorations in a pretty basket by the tree to make them easily accessible. If you plan a Christmas party and need the tree decorated quickly this could spur your word count to grow rapidly.
- Do a fun holiday related activity with the family with the understanding that the next day, or hours, are yours for writing.
- Spend part of one day each week doing some holiday activity that fuels your creativity. Make Christmas cards, build a gingerbread house, bake Christmas cookies, build a snowman with the kids, or shop. You’re only limited by your own imagination.
- Write a Christmas story during your holidays. Inspiration is all around you during the season, from music to snow, if you’re lucky enough to get it. Writing holiday themed stories now beats putting the tree up in July, like Dolly Parton does for inspiration when she creates Christmas songs in the summer.
- Work hard in the time you’ve allotted and stay focused. This means no email, no web surfing, and shutting the office door.
- Use your crockpot … often. Winter’s a great time for simple soup, chili or stew meals topped off with crusty loaf of bread. Make double batches and you’ll have leftovers for another day. Some soups are better reheated.
- Write with a tape recorder and transcribe it after the holidays are over. A mini tape recorder fits in your pocket and is easy to use. Some cell phones even have to ability to record voice notes. All those times you have while you wait for the kids’ Christmas concerts to start (because we all know you have to be there hours in advance), waiting in line for thirty minutes at the checkout counter while holiday shopping, or mixing dough for Christmas cookies can count as writing time.
- Plan a writers’ plotting and cookie exchange party. Have each participant bring 2 dozen home-baked cookies (which you mixed up while writing with your tape recorder) and exchange cookies and plotting ideas. And yes, this can count toward one of the writing goals.
- At the end of the holiday season, if you met all your goals give yourself a BIG reward. You deserve it!
© C. D. Hersh