Do You Have a Holiday Writing Plan?
No getting around it, the holiday season is here. This week is Thanksgiving, families are gathering, and stores are already playing Christmas music. The joys, the stresses… here they come.
What does this mean for writers? This season can easily lead to frustration for people trying to juggle a busy life on top of their writing. The time available for your writing dwindles and you start to feel behind and get stressed that you’re not meeting your goals or deadlines.
It’s time to make a Holiday Writing Plan.
Let’s face this time of year head-on with a strategy that will take us through to January 2nd with the least amount of stress possible.
What should your Holiday Writing Plan include?
First, take a look at the next month on the calendar and assess about how much time you’ll have for your personal writing pursuits. Then, divide that in half, and assume that’s how much time you’ll realistically have.
Next, set reasonable goals for this time period. Is it a word count? Is it simply to have a certain amount of time each week to enjoy writing, without having an expectation of results? Keep in mind that a good goal for some people is, “I will put away my WIP until January 2nd, at which time I will come at it with fresh eyes and a renewed sense of energy.”
The key is to set goals that are attainable given your life circumstance, so that you don’t end up with frustration or a sense of failure amidst the holidays.
After you’ve set your goals…
Make a plan of action for how you’ll meet them. Schedule the writing time on your calendar, or put Post-It notes on your desk or bathroom mirror reminding yourself of your writing hiatus.
If you’re contracted for a book or article and you have deadlines during the holidays or immediately after, then your Holiday Plan is even more important. Be intentional about which activities you can reasonably let go, and which you’ll keep. (To borrow from Marie Kondo… which activities truly spark joy?)
You may want to delegate more of your usual holiday tasks—cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping. Most importantly, don’t go into this season simply assuming that “somehow” you’ll get it all done.
You want to go into the holiday season with realistic expectations about what you can accomplish. The holidays are stressful enough without adding to it with impractical goals!
I recommend Kathi Lipp’s handy little book, The Christmas Project Planner: Super Simple Steps to Organize the Holidays. I normally avoid obvious promotions here on my blog, but I read the first edition of this book a few years ago, and now I keep it handy every year. It really helped me keep control of my holidays.
How will you handle the balance between your work and your life? What are your goals? Put your plans in writing!
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