1. Have fun! This is the best time of year to take a completely casual approach to writing and focus on something that just makes you happy and does not stress you out. Most writing, most of the time, is work. It doesn’t have to be right now. Enjoy this. Play with your words. You have earned the right.
2. Don’t try to write every day. Everyone loses momentum around the holidays, especially if you make it a point to wind down before the New Year. You should continue writing as much as you can, but this is not the time to push yourself too hard unless you absolutely have to. Sometimes, especially now, less really is more.
3. Unless you absolutely have to (deadlines do, unfortunately, often still exist around the holidays), make it a point not to write when you should be spending time with family or friends or enjoying the holidays. Write on your own time so that you can enjoy both things separately — but make time for both, if you can.
4. Motivate yourself by reading as many books as you can and want to read. If it helps, choose a few books that align with the current genre you are writing in and let other writers’ accomplishments fuel your creative energy. Some people find that reading in different genres helps them, too. A mix of both probably won’t hurt.
5. Set a very small goal for the month of December. Let’s be realistic here: Regardless of which holidays you celebrate (or do not), you’re probably going to be busy this month. So keep your expectations low. There is no need to aim high and stress yourself out right now.
6. Try to maintain your “normal” writing schedule to the best of your ability. Days off are days off and you should take advantage of those, but if you normally come home and write for an hour during the week, keep doing that. Don’t veer too much from your routine just because the holidays have arrived.
7. Continue doing plenty of things that stimulate creativity even when you aren’t writing. You deserve to rest and recharge, but the reason so many people struggle to get back into writing come January is that they go too long without being creative. Write a little, do other things like puzzles … write some more, and repeat.
8. Don’t beat yourself up if you want to write but can’t. This is a really hard time for writers in terms of being able to get work done, and may people actually take (much deserved) time off. Try to make some time to do some “fun” writing as much as you can, but don’t let yourself be consumed by guilt if it’s only a little bit here and there.
9. Don’t start working on your goals for next year until next year starts. This is not the time for your “get ahead” mentality to kick in. It’s actually OK not to set a goal that is too formal toward the end of the year. To keep writing, simply make it a point to try working on something new a few days each week.
10. This is a great time to write about the holidays, your feelings, your experiences, family — anything along those lines, really. Write about things that are relevant to you and your audience right now. We are all thinking about the holidays and the incoming new year.
11. Take a little time to reflect on — and be proud of — all you have accomplished this year, even if it was one small thing. Let that motivate you to finish the year out strong. There is still plenty of time left, and you’d be surprised what you can accomplish in a short amount of time if you really force yourself to focus.
12. Seriously, be proud of what you have managed to get done this year. If you wrote things, even small things, even things no one else saw, it still counts. You did good. Celebrate that.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.