Many people lead very busy lives, juggling work and family commitments. Fitting writing into your schedule can be harder than fitting your tummy into your trousers after a delicious festive dinner, particularly at this time of year. Gearing up for the holiday season it can be easy to feel stressed. Fear not, my friends! Here’s our wintry writer’s guide to coping.
Things can get very hectic around Christmas time, and with parties and family visits, it can be hard to fit in your writing. If keeping up your writing schedule is important to you, then focus on the essentials – and ignore the rest as much as you can. Having a party? Instead of spending hours cooking and cleaning, do some writing instead, then keep the lightning extra low with just ‘festive’ candlelight to illuminate the room. Bring out some crisps and peanuts, then get your guests as sloshed as possible so they don’t notice the squalor, and lack of proper food. You can continue writing when they’ve left, even if you’d had a few too many mulled wines. After all, Hemingway did say ‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober’.*
2. Make Your Own Retreat
Everyone says ‘write every day’. Yes, the ‘little and often’ mantra is good for most people – but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can binge-write if that’s better for you. Tell your partner/flatmate/family to go out, and ‘book into’ your own bedroom as a writing retreat. Of course, the moment you get the time and space to write, you’ll either a) fall asleep b) find something fascinating on the internet or television c) get writer’s block.
3. Go On A Day Trip in Your Own Area
Talking of writer’s block… are you just bored with your writing routine? Get inspiration by going somewhere new. Yes, it could be a weekend away, to a new city or a different country. It could be a daytrip to a stately home, or the seaside. But you don’t need to go that far. Why not go inside a church, art gallery or local museum down the road that you’ve walked by thousands of times but never actually entered. Or visit a pub that you’ve never tried before/haven’t been in for a few weeks. After all, Hemingway did say “Write Drunk, Edit Sober’*
4. Re-Evaluate Your Goals
Are you rushing to finish something in time for Christmas, or by the end of the year, in line with your New Year’s Resolutions? Is there an actual deadline, for example, a book launch with posters and flyers printed, venue and caterer booked? If so, you may need to lock yourself away, sacrificing sleep and your social life in order to get it done – or run away. But although a deadline can really focus the mind, if it is causing you too much stress, then re-evaluate your goal. Is it actually achievable? If you’ve promised everyone a copy of your new book for Christmas, and it’s just not going to happen, lie and say that there was a problem with the printers/your computer, and that they’ll get it in the New Year. Or just get a few copies printed of what you’ve actually written, and say it’s an extended short story/novella/Volume I.
*Apparently Hemingway did not actually say “Write Drunk, Edit Sober.”