Picture this: You’ve got the tree lighting ceremony, or a trip to see the holiday train, or perhaps attending a festival that you go to annually because your children love it. Santa visits at the mall because for some reason your kids don’t trust you with knowing their deepest desires; tree cutting, gingerbread house contests, spinning the Dreidel, and of course, visiting family members that you conveniently only see once a year.
Everything tends to add up. Fast. And by the time your head reaches the pillow each night, you’ve forgotten all about that story that is waiting to be written.
You no longer have the time to actually sit down and write some majestic words, nor do you have the energy to either.
So how does any actual work get done in the month of December?
Its actual quite simple. In fact, it’s so simple that it tends to be pushed under the rug because “there’s no way that’ll actually work.”
Here is it:
PLAN YOUR TIME.
Yes, that’s right.
Stop stuffing every holiday tradition into one week where each day during your child’s winter break you must do something festive.
That’s just a recipe for disaster, where one minute you’re all having fun and the next there’s icing in places it shouldn’t be. Instead, try making it a month long event! Start off which some minor merry things because depending on where you live, Thanksgiving might have just passed, or Halloween, or whatever other holiday tends to get looked over each December. What i'm suggesting is take it slow and stretch it out if you can.
This way, you’ll actually spend more time with the people who matter most in your life and it won’t feel like you’re giving up time to do so either. This way, during the evening when things have quieted down, you can slip away to your writing zone and get to work!
It’s not as simple as saying “this year I’m going to make the holidays a month long tradition so I have more time!”
You and I both know that things come up, you need to move things around, etc. Here is where the planning bit comes in handy. In this case action is more valuable than words. Writing things down can be a life saver.
I bought this little weekly planner from the Dollar Store that I display in my living room for everyone in my household to see (by everyone I mean my partner). In my opinion, it’s less threatening because there aren't any dates on it so if you miss a week it’s not like you’re losing money by not using it. It’s basically a giant pad so I just prop it up and it really helps to keep track of events, deadlines, bills, and whatever else you might think is important to remember. Write it down.
Other tools if you don’t feel like spending the extra two dollars, is a calendar app on your phone, which can be an excellent way to keep track of important things; additionally the sticky notes on your PC. My partner actually uses the phone tactic because he always has his phone on him for business purposes, and it’s always on sound. So for events he makes sure that an alarm is pinned to it so he has to turn the music off which makes him look at the phone.
Now you’re probably wondering, I know how to plan my events, what does this have to do with writing?
Well, the more organized you are with your personal and professional life [if writing isn’t already your day job], the more you’ll be able to squeeze in time for writing. And I know it may seem forced then, that between 8:15PM and 9:15PM you schedule in a writing session, but it can actually prove to be quite effective. Now you label that one hour as valuable time to work on your project so you wont want to waste a single minute. Maybe these strategies will help keep you on track and be a more efficient writer in the new year, who knows!
Speaking of time, another way to make time for your writing is to pick a certain time of day to always sit down and write, this way it forms a routine that you can get used to, as opposed to one day you’re writing at the crack of dawn, the next lunch time, and so on.
Personally, I find writing in the evening hours to be my sweet spot. I don’t have kids myself, but I have young siblings in my life that my partner and I often spend time with. So after they’ve gone to bed and we’ve traveled home I can slip into my author pants and get busy. This is also the time when me and my significant other tend to have our alone time, where we unwind and do the things that we love which doesn’t necessarily involve the other person. So my time is spent writing, his is usually creating something.
But do what works for you and your household.
My last piece of advice for any of you who tend to push your writing aside for the sake of praying the holidays will run smoother, is don’t.
Your writing is important and valued, and one day someone is going to read your work and be inspired and you shouldn’t delay it! Especially if you don’t need to. There may only be 24 hours in a day, but some of that time should be set aside for you to do what you love. It’s what keeps us sane!
So get out there, buy some planner stickers if you fancy them, make everything color-coded and get to balancing your life.
That's all for today! If you ever need someone to chat with during these chaotic times I’m always available and I love to send cheery gifs to people so feel free to Tweet me.