The Holidays and Writing

I don’t know about others, but I’ve always found December to be a difficult time to be a writer. Holiday parties, luncheons, dinners, and family gatherings can mess up a writing schedule. There’s gift buying, cards to be written, mailed, received, and read. When my children were young, my writing schedule had to be forgotten while they were on their winter break. Now that they and I are older, I’m the one who goes on a winter break. For at least a week in December my husband and I pack up our car and drive south for 1200 miles, then spend several days “reopening” our winter lodgings.

It took me several years before I stopped fighting all the interruptions that always occur in December. Early in my career I pushed myself to write every day. In a few cases it was because I had a looming deadline. Other times it was because I’d bought into the idea of “A writer writes every day.” I did make my deadlines, but I also missed some valuable time I could have and should have spent with my children and husband.

Nowadays I’ve decided a vacation from work isn’t a bad thing. Rather than letting the interruptions frustrate me, I’m inclined to view them as a time to let whatever I’ve been working on rest so I can come back to it with a fresh perspective. If I do get a sudden inspiration, I jot the idea down on a piece of paper and put that aside to revisit in January.

So, for whatever it’s worth, my advice to you is, unless you’re facing a deadline, enjoy the holidays. Get together with friends and family and have fun with your children.

Now, I’ve got to go pack. Five more days and we’re hitting the highway.


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12 Responses to The Holidays and Writing

  1. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed not merely endured. Thanks for the reminder. Have a great season!

  2. Ann Bennett says:

    There is a big piece of me that wants to give into passion and write or create all day. I wake up every morning eating breakfast over the sink as I clean up morning dishes, feed dogs, etc. such is life when you take care of people. I don’t think I will regret the choice. Have a good Christmas.

  3. Thank you for this post. I’ve been struggling with keeping up with the holidays, promoting my recently released novel, The 13th Victim, and working on my next novel. I had decided there was no time to do so many things I enjoy about the holidays, but you have given me a different perspective. What a nice gift. Thanks again, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Sherry, I’m so glad my blog has given you a different perspective. It’s so easy to get caught up in all we must do to market our books and keep our muse happy that we do forget to fulfill our other needs this time of the year. Merry Christmas to you.

  4. Jacqueline Seewald says:

    Sage advice! I have cut back myself.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Thanks, Jacqueline. Today I mixed marketing my books with Christmas shopping, but now I’m enjoying a glass of egg nog. Thank goodness that’s only available at this time of the years or I’d weigh 500 pounds.

  5. Melissa Keir says:

    Your post is in essence why I stopped teaching full time. I couldn’t do it all and still have time for my family. Their relationships were more important to me and now I can find time for everything I love.

    Enjoy your holiday break!

    • Maris Soule says:

      I will enjoy this break more once I have everything packed, but I’m looking forward to the weekend and time to see friends and family. And I, too, quit teaching when I had my family. Those years go by way too quickly.

  6. Diane Burton says:

    You lead by example, Maris. Enjoy your trip to FL and getting settled. Then you can make time to write. Have a great Christmas and a terrific 2016.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Thanks, Diane. I must say the weather hasn’t been bad here, in Michigan, but I’m looking forward to more sunshine and walking the dog without the need of a heavy coat. Merry Christmas to you and yours.