‘Tis the season to be jolly... and productive. With the hustle and bustle of the approaching holiday season, it can be easy to push aside your writing productivity as you focus on all the festivities.
But with a strategic approach to your writing routine, you can have the best of both worlds by enjoying this time of the year without completely derailing your writing goals.
Although writing productivity may not be the first thing that comes to mind as the holidays approach, here are four ways to stay focused on your book, while still enjoying all the excitement this time of the year brings.
1. Write in the morning
We’ve all heard that the early bird gets the worm, and this can be especially true for many writers during the holidays. The best way to squeeze writing into a day that’s jam packed full of events is to start your day early, while the rest of your household is still asleep.
By carving out time to be productive in the early morning, you’ll be able to write before the day’s excitement steals your focus.
Approach it with a “work now, play later” mindset. It’ll feel great to have your writing done first, so you can fully enjoy the day’s festivities without feeling burdened by the thought of all the work you should be doing.
2. Create a holiday writing goal
Set yourself up for success by setting a writing goal specifically for the season. Think about how much writing you can realistically get done before the end of the year, then break your goal into smaller milestones. This will boost your writing motivation, and help prevent overwhelm.
Use a word count calculator to determine a realistic word count goal for your book. Then, break the goal into the amount of words you want to accomplish before the end of the year. You can then divide that word count by the number of days left in the year.
For example, let’s say you need to write 15,000 words before the year is over. You can divide the 15,000 words by the days you have left to reach your goal. So, it would look like this: 15,000 (words needed) / 60 (days left) = 250 words per day. This means that at a minimum, you should aim for a goal of writing 250 words per day this holiday season.
By shifting your mindset towards a smaller writing goal, you can push yourself to achieve your goal every single day, without feeling burned out during such a busy time of the year.
3. Change your scenery
As writers, we all know the importance of having a dedicated writing space. By creating an environment that’s conducive to our writing, we can wire our mind and body to actually write.
But sometimes that doesn’t always work out as planned, especially when the kids are on winter break, family is visiting, and so on. It can easily disrupt your writing habit, especially if you usually write in a dedicated space at home.
The solution? Switch up your scenery when it’s time to write. Get out of your house or office, and settle in at a quiet public place, where other people are working or studying. Head to the library, or a warm coffee shop, and knock out an hour or two of writing.
At the end of the day, the holidays are about being mindful and slowing down the pace to enjoy time with loved ones. While it’s important that you reserve time to continue writing and working on your goals, sometimes it’s okay to give up the pen temporarily and indulge in a much-needed break with those you love.
Don’t feel guilty about taking time off from your writing goals; simply agree to make up the work later if you get sidetracked.
For days when you absolutely cannot write your book, try engaging in activities that help fuel your writing. For example, you can do some research, cuddle up with a good book, or have a meaningful conversation around your writing topic. If you’re struggling with writer’s block, strengthen your creative muscles with short writing prompts in another genre.
Allowing your brain to have a rest from your own book can be a breath of fresh air that pushes you to get back on track. It can also allow you to reflect on your work in a different light, as you develop your perspectives and consider new angles.
No matter what you do, find a way to discover what works best for you.
Every writer is different, and each one of us has our own way of managing our workload. While this time of year can be stressful and overwhelming, there are specific strategies you can implement to keep you focused.
Make this holiday season even more memorable, by being present for the seasonal fun, while also being intentional about achieving your writing goals.
Here’s to a cheerful holiday season - and a productive one!