1. Time off is important
With the Christmas holiday period fast approaching the demands on the average writer can often be immense. There's presents to buy, meals and festive arrangements to make, children to take care of, family visits, friends - the list goes on and on. In these situations it can often be tempting for the writer to be selfish with their time and to carry on writing as assiduously as before (Stephen King writes for approximately three hours a day Christmas or no Christmas). I think it's always good to remember that in these situations to never feel too guilty about allowing yourself some time off. It's the holidays after all. It could be just a few days, or even the slimmest part of an afternoon or a morning. However long you take is up to you. Besides, there's no use burning yourself out. If you allow yourself to relax a little now then you are storing up some vital mental energy for a January writing splurge.
2. Keep Writing
Of course don't take too much time off. Writers write and those that don't don't. Despite all the various demands that will be placed on you you can still find a few slots in your schedule for writing - it could be as little as an hour here or there or perhaps the entirety of the post-Christmas weekend. This is especially important to remember if you are half way or more through an important project such as a short story or a full-on novel. As I'm currently re-editing the second Jack Strong novel it is important for me to keep chipping away at the chapters so that I can complete it by mid to late January. Ultimately, the more you acquaint yourself with your characters and your plot the more likely you will finish it on time and the better the end product will be.
3. Set Achievable Goals
With Christmas being as busy as it is there's no point setting yourself an unachievable target like writing a novel in two weeks. The further you get from your overly ambitious goals the more likely it will be that you will be hit with a hefty dose of lethargy and hopelessness as the mountain of work ahead of you looms ever larger. Therefore it's doubly important that you set achievable goals that you can meet. It could be writing a few chapters or even just a few pages - it doesn't matter so long as you accomplish what you set out to do. The odds are that the resulting confidence boost will lead to yet more writing and further targets being met along the way.
4. Don't forget to read
What with writing schedules to arrange and all the numerous holiday commitments it can be tempting to toss to one side that book that you are reading. Though you might have less time to read than normal this is not a valid reason to chuck that book away entirely. Books and words are still the whetstones of a writer's mind and it is important that you keep on flicking through the pages. If you are struggling for time just have an honest look at how you are spending your spare time and see if you can squeeze in the odd half hour or hour of reading every day. Ultimately, the more books you read the better and more accomplished your writing will be as a result.
Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year everyone! With the holidays almost upon us I will take a break from blogging for about a week or so. But if you want to check out my novel, Jack Strong and the Red Giant, about a bullied 12 year old boy's adventures in space you can do so via the link below: