Most days I feel beyond #grateful to be a writer, but during the holidays, I'll admit, I get a little stressed. Writing, of course, requires time — lots and lots of time. That's not such a big deal when you're devoting yourself to being a writer, but the balancing act grows exponentially trickier when you're trying to be both a festive human/daughter/family-member/spouse/friend and a writer. Being present requires setting aside the notebook or the laptop and interacting with people, devoting yourself fully to the celebration at hand.
In truth, I'm someone who aspires not toward well-rounded humanness but T.C. Boyle-ness. Boyle, in an interview with The Paris Review, confesses to writing every day; he mentions being "so bored" after finishing a novel that he's compelled to start the next thing. For my fellow scribes with similarly compulsive tendencies, you know that relaxing into sugar cookies and hot toddies can actually be more trouble than it's worth.
Fortunately, the holiday season needn't beget a drought of literary productivity. With a little willpower, some solid focus, and a dash of creativity, you can turn these winter break weeks into a period of time that will usher in all your grandest 2017 writing resolutions.
Sometimes you can't help your parents shovel the driveway. And that's okay.
Make Excuses To Do You.
Excuse yourself to a quiet place or, if your house is a toxic decibel level, find a reason to hit up your nearest library or coffee shop. Believe it or not, you're not going to be missed for an hour--and that time can make all the difference.
Own Your Writing Identity.
Even though the holidays can feel totally family-centric, if you're a writer you've got to embrace that. Don't be afraid to wear many hats.
Plan Activities That Appeal To You.
Whether it's attending a story slam, checking out a book signing at your favorite bookstore, listening to an audiobook as a family, or snagging tickets to an improv show you think will be a crowdpleaser, prioritize activities that feed your creative spirit. Who knows? You just might make new traditions in the process.
Give Gifts That Share Your Passion.
Wake Up Early.
If you're finding that the days are just too busy, you're going to have to switch up your alarm. Write for the first thirty minutes of the day, when you're still sleepy and dreamed-out.
Or Go To Bed Late.
Because nothing says "midnight oil" like cookies and milk.
Tune Out The Naysayers.
I wish only supportive friends and families on all my fellow writers, but the fact of the matter is the people surrounding us aren't always are best cheerleaders. Plug your ears and ignore the folks who don't recognize why you're hunched over that notebook. You've got work to do!