I admit it. Shopping, baking, wrapping gifts, and sending holiday cards, along with everything else I have to do, makes me want to hide in bed until after the new year. But, I need this little thing called money that keeps the roof over our heads, so I keep writing.
Here’s my advice. Don't let the holidays derail your writing progress. Adjust your expectations and stay focused on your goals.
Many of us have this Currier and Ives picture perfect holiday in our minds, and we kill ourselves trying to achieve it.
Stop a minute and think back to the holidays of your childhood. Did it bother you if Mom burnt the cookies or if the house next door had more lights hanging from it than yours did? Probably not.
Here are a few ways you can simplify your holidays:
- Focus your energy where it belongs: on family and friends. Instead of rushing around to make everything perfect, be okay with good enough.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your family will be more than happy to lend a hand if they know it means spending more time with you.
- Trim back your holiday card list or consider sending postcards. I used to mail out over one hundred cards a year with handwritten notes inside. Then it happened: the year I just couldn’t do it. So, I pulled the previous year’s cards and only mailed cards to people who had sent us one that year. Postcards are a cheaper alternative when you want to send a quick note to someone you don’t see very often.
- Many online retailers offer free shipping during the holidays, so you can shop from home while taking a break from your writing. You save gas, don’t have to deal with crowds, and can easily get back to your writing schedule. Shopping local can also help. Commit to shopping at small businesses for one day out of the holiday season.
It’s easy to lose track of your writing goals while preparing for the holidays. Now, more than ever, it’s important to write out a to-do list each week. Time block your calendar so that writing time stays part of your routine.
Be realistic and plan ahead, knowing you have more on your plate this time of year. By November, I don’t take on additional writing assignments or book reviews. This leaves me wiggle room for those added holiday chores and more time to spend with those I care about.
Preparing for the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t find the time to write. Adjusting expectations and focusing on writing goals can simplify your life and help you write, even during busy times.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and award-winning editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A blogger and book reviewer, she is a member of SCBWI and lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three adult children. Visit Cheryl's website at https://ccmalandrinos.com or her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com