The brats are screaming. The house is a mess. The spouse is being surly. In-Laws, out-laws, family, friends, visiting. Jobs. Shopping …,
… the list goes on. Many people who do not have a central hobby or small business such as the creative arts can generally wing these holiday obstructions. Unfortunately, many artists rely on inspiration alone to fuel their creations, and they generally find this lacking while a wall of troubles and distractions keep one at bay.
First of all, consider a vacation from your writing. Certainly. If there is no editor demanding a deadline, and especially if you are a freelancer or novelist or writing on spec, be prepared to allow yourself time off. There’s no need to meet a goal when there are other important lifetime and seasonal events demanding your attention. All this will do is cause you stress and guilt.
If you absolutely MUST dedicate yourself to a writing goal during the holiday season (and this is one reason I dislike the NaNoWriMo event), consider these tips for getting the job done:
- Set aside a specified time. You might need to make room at the expense of routine tasks and activities. Try getting up an hour earlier, or try slipping in minutes when the house is quiet and you can be free of distractions.
- Be flexible. Don’t get angry or frustrated. Just do what you can when you can do it.
- Advise editors or others that demand a deadline that they are facing holiday rush. You will do everything you can to meet the deadline, but for them to be prepared that delivery might be late.
- Don’t accept a writing goal beyond your capability. Keep all goals within a moderate timeframe and word count.
- Take care of your pressing responsibilities first. Do not allow other tasks to loom and cause you stress.
- Rely on others to help with additional chores. This is particularly important for wives, girlfriends, and mothers.
Keeping these basic ideals will help you achieve and possibly allow far more productivity than you can imagine. Holiday stress is a killer –don’t let it kill your art, your fun, or you! 😉