The holiday season means something different for everyone. For you, it might actually be the most wonderful time of the year. For someone else, it might be a dark, sad time for them and the people close to them.
For me, it’s a time of mixed emotions. Joy. Sadness. Maybe a little Anger. No Disgust, though, I love cookies and gingerbread lattes and giving other people gifts. Not a huge fan of snow, but I currently don’t have too many reasons to leave my house that often, so the cold doesn’t really bother me.
As far as writing goes, I can’t say there’s a predictable pattern as to how much writing I’ll get done in the next month or so. Some years, there’s a lot of down time, no homework and long-distance relationships that leave me (sometimes blissfully) alone. Alone time for me means one of three things: reading, writing or trapped in the YouTube/Tumblr/Pinterest vortex. I would love to say writing is my usual go-to, but sometimes you’re just not in the “write” mood.
I do find it a lot harder to write during the holidays regardless, even though you would think it would be the opposite. For as long as I can remember, the holidays have always, for me, meant break time. No school. No work. This will be my last year of that – I’ll be done with graduate school by this time next year. Does that mean it won’t be quite as difficult to write, despite everything sort of slowing down and turning all sparkly and festive?
Some years, I’m just completely worn out from a long semester of studying and never really getting a break. It takes awhile to get back into my writing zone. And by the time I do, it’s almost time to get back to work again.
Plus, I always feel like writing something involving Christmas, which reminds me way too much of a Hallmark movie, which makes me turn and run away from that idea as fast as I can.
I’ve come up with some ways to stay motivated this season, for those who find it harder to get writing done despite the extra down time (maybe).
Tips to Help Keep You Motivated
- Reward yourself. Write a little, eat a cookie. Or, wrap a present, write a paragraph. Depending on what you need to get done that day vs. what you would rather spend your time doing instead.
- Reflect. If you can’t get yourself to work on a story or a series of blog posts, turn to more personal writing, in a journal or on your blog if that’s your blogging style. It’s the perfect time of year to reflect on all you’ve accomplished, writing-wise and otherwise, this year.
- Set next year’s writing goals. Sometimes, all we need to motivate ourselves to write is a new goal to work toward. Just because January 1 is still a month away doesn’t mean you can’t set and start pursuing a new goal. Want to finish your novel this next year? Start a new blog? Submit a piece to a short story contest? Write it down and get to work! Or give yourself a start date, if you’re set on relaxing this month (completely acceptable).
How do you feel about writing during this season of giving (and going, going, going)? How do you cope with the stress (or other emotions)? Does writing help you get through it all, or give you something to look forward to in January?
Happy holidays. :)
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.