How To Maintain Your Writing Practice Over the Holidays

corni-sm.gifThe holidays are no longer coming, they are here. And for moms, the holidays present a serious challenge to our writing schedules. How will you maintain whatever momentum you have gained without getting totally waylaid by the holidays? Here’s a few ideas:

1. Have a daily practice that works for you
Even if fifteen minutes while the kids are eating breakfast is the best that you can do, fifteen minutes is better than nothing. For example, in fifteen minutes you can locate the tip section of a magazine, analyze the kinds of tips they publish and jot down several ideas of your own. As the week goes on you can flesh out and rewrite those tips until they are ready to submit. (See chapter seven of Writer Mama for more on how to write tips)

2. Designate certain days of the week for certain tasks
If you compartmentalize your errands, this will likely work for you. When you decide, for example, that Friday is your Submit Day, you’ll be so much more likely to work during the week in order to have something to submit. For many of us, no deadline, means no writing gets done. If you know what I’m talking about, pick a weekly deadline and stick to it. You’ll feel so much better about yourself than repeatedly not submitting.

3. Keep your focus on the short and simple
If you are having trouble getting any writing polished and submitted at all, this is not the time to think big. Think short and simple and accumulate successes. Success leads to more success, regardless of the size of the success.

4. Forget tomorrow
Yes, goal setting is important and it won’t hurt you to think about it. But during the holidays with all the hustle and distraction, it pays to stay in the moment. Focus on today and what you are going to accomplish just this week and let your monthly and annual goals go until January 1st, when absolutely everyone will be buzzing about them anyway.

5. Jump on opportunities
Say you are studying a publication for their tips and you see a call for short essay submissions. If your interest is piqued, jot down some ideas on the spot. Don’t rip the page out and put it in a folder, where you won’t stumble across it until the spring thaw.

6. Keep all the action in one trusty place
Try maintaining your writing-in-process in one notebook or legal pad that you reach for in moments of inspiration. If you can reduce the distance between inspiration and action, you will increase your success exponentially. Keep this special pad in a designated place where you can grab it at a moment’s notice.

7. Put your essentials in one basket
I recommend a portable basket or file folder tote for keeping your burgeoning practice orderly and ready to rip at a moment’s notice. Put your target publications, pens, pads, and writing references inside. Then, when an unexpected moment of peace presents itself, you’ll be ready to grab your goods and write. Instead of searching through piles and files.

I know that readers and my students are applying what they’ve learned from Writer Mama and my classes, because I keep hearing success stories. Soon, I’ll be announcing a zine makeover and I’d like to include all of your successes, even what you consider to be the small ones. Please e-mail me and let me know how your writing is going for you.

Now how about you. How will you consistently get your work done, alongside (not instead of) the holidays? What ideas do you have for yourself that you can share?


2 Responses to “How To Maintain Your Writing Practice Over the Holidays”

  1. 1 emsgeiss November 3, 2007 at 5:37 am

    Such a great post, as always. My sister-in-law and I were chatting about this very thing last night (she’s a teaching mama). Thanks for the reminder and tips about how to stay sane during what for many, becomes probably the most stressful times of the year.

  2. 2 Tricia S. November 4, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Great tips. And if you think about it, most can apply to pther things in your life. I have a similar philisophy to cleaning house. No, wait that was just a dream I had one time. Anyway, thanks for the tips. I printed them out on fancy paper and hung them over my desk.

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