|Photo by Rick Campbell|
So how can I acknowledge the limitations that come with intensive time spent with family (not to mention the travel or, if you're hosting, the prep and clean-up time) while still making progress toward my writing goals?
I asked a few fellow writers for their own strategies and came up with a few ideas of my own:
My client Zoey Derrick, who is in the midst of writing and publishing a four-book paranormal romance novella series, says: "During the holidays it’s hard to focus on writing when there is so much going on. I have such a horrible squirrel complex anyway, I get distracted by the shiny fun of the holidays. Thankfully my family is so supportive that I get asked almost daily how the writing is going and without them, I wouldn’t be able to focus this time of year."
My Twitter pal J Elizabeth Hill is notorious for her high word counts during #writeclub sprints. She says: "I live a long way from my family, so it hasn’t come up since I got serious [a]bout writing. [But] if I had family obligations or activities [...] I’d probably set reduced goals for that period."
And Carey Torgesen, whose contemporary young adult romance novel Speechless I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of, says that she copes by "getting ahead on days I can, [surpassing] my daily goal so I can take a day off. Also, doing a little here and there, small spurts rather than larger bursts."
Yes! Small spurts - that was one of my ideas, too. Instead of trying to write for an hour a day (or even half an hour), which won't be practical during the Thanksgiving weekend or the week I spend with my family around Christmas, I'll aim for 15 minutes. Even though that may not seem like a lot, 15 minutes is better than no minutes, and I'll bet that in the end I'll be surprised by how it adds up.
I also count time speaking with people about my works in progress. Usually when I tell someone about a story I'm working on, they'll ask me questions that lead to new realizations about it. It may not be actual time sitting down putting words to paper, but it's still working on my stories.
And finally, my friend and developmental editor, Diane Gilman, will be waiting to receive some of my writing each Monday over these next two months. While that doesn't guarantee that I'll write very much, knowing that there's someone who's not only expecting to read something from me each week but is actually looking forward to it is a great help. It makes me feel less alone in this endeavor and keeps me motivated because I feel that my writing is important to someone other than me.
What about you? What are your ideas for staying connected to your writing projects over the holidays?